A huge roar and discret tears - Alberto Dainese (DSM-Firmenich) took an emotional win on stage 19 of La Vuelta 23 as he sprinted to victory in Iscar, after 177.5km of racing from La Bañeza. On flat roads, four attackers set a very high pace (47.8km/h on average). But the peloton got back to them and set the sprint on the 2km final straight. Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) went down with 1 kilometre to go and Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) almost took the cake before his Italian compatriot sprinted past him right on the line. Dainese takes his 6th professional win, three of them in Grand Tours. On Saturday, the penultimate stage of La Vuelta 23 will take the riders into the hills around Madrid, with no less than ten categorised climbs to try and turn the race upside down.
Back on the valley! After three gruelling days of racing in Cantabria and Asturias, the peloton of La Vuelta 23 face a flat stage from La Bañeza to Iscar, where the sprinters hope to seize their last opportunity to shine before Madrid.
A 4-man breakaway
After 10 kilometres of battle, four riders make the break: Clément Davy (Groupama-FDJ), Paul Lapeira (AG2R Citroën), Mathis Le Berre (Arkéa Samsic) and Michal Schlegel (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). They rapidly build a lead of 2’50’’ and maintain speeds over 45km/h.
But Alpecin-Deceuninck are also quick to react to try and control the stage for Kaden Groves, chasing his third stage win in La Vuelta 23. UAE Team Emirates also get involved in the chase and the gap oscillates between 1 and 2 minutes.
Groves hits the deck, Dainese hits the mark
Clément Davy resists the bunch into the intermediate sprint (19.3km to go), where Kaden Groves comes 2nd and scores 17 points. The Frenchman is caught right after and Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan) counter-attacks. The Italian opens a gap of 17’’ before he is reeled in with 10km to go.
As Alpecin-Deceuninck move up one kilometre away from the line, they provoke a pile-up at the front and Groves can’t sprint for a third win. Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) tries to seize the opportunity for a second win in La Vuelta, but Alberto Dainese (DSM-Firmenich) overtakes him on the line.