Wellens, king of the breakaways
November 4 th 2020 - 17:04 [GMT + 1]
Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) claimed a second stage win on the roads of La Vuelta 2020 on Wednesday after a demanding day in Galicia. The Belgian puncheur, already winner of stage 5 in Sabiñanigo, featured in a very strong breakaway group that emerged after some 50km of battle. The uphill finish in Ourense saw him dominate experts such as Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) and Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quick Step). The GC contenders finished together and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) retained La Roja.
There isn’t much room for doubts at the start of stage 14 in Lugo: many riders hint this is a day for the breakaway and lots of them attack from the gun, initiating a massive battle in the first two hours of racing. GC contenders such as Wout Poels (Bahrain-McLaren) and Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) feature in early moves. A group of 26 riders briefly ride away from the bunch at km 29 but the battle for the breakaway is ongoing after they cover 49.1km in the first hour of racing.
Astana, Bora-Hansgrohe and Total Direct Energie try to control the break
At that moment, Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Marc Soler (Movistar) are riding away from the bunch with a 30’’ lead. Thymen Arensman (Sunweb) and Pierre Luc Périchon (Cofidis) join them at km 53 to form the breakaway of the day. Astana drive the bunch, Bora-Hansgrohe help them, but the gap increases to a maximum of 5’30’’ at km 98.
The attackers work well together over the first categorised climbs of the day, the cat-3 Alto de Escairon (km 112.7) and Alto de Guitara (km 142.8), to maintain a gap of around 5 minutes. Astana and Bora give up on the chase but Total Direct Energie take over with 60km to go and quickly bring the gap down with a very hard pace in the bunch.
Woods and Stybar try, Wellens doesn't miss
The attackers’ lead is down to 2’05’’ at the bottom of the last categorised climb of the day, the Alto de Abelaira (cat-3). Michael Woods accelerates inside the last 3km of ascent. Only Pierre Luc Périchon is unable to bridge the gap to the Canadian climber. The peloton don’t manage to reduce the gap on this climb and quickly give up on the downhill.
Zdenek Stybar ups the ante in a downhill section with 14km to go. Mar Soler follows him and Tim Wellens quickly bridges the gap… But Michael Woods, Dylan van Baarle and Thymen Arensman get back just ahead of the final uphill kilometre, with an average gradient of 6%! Soler tries to anticipate the sprint but Wellens contain his move and Woods can’t overcome the Belgian’s acceleration. The GC contenders finish together and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) retains La Roja.