Among the fiercest attackers of today’s peloton, Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) surged to victory in a very demanding stage 9 of La Vuelta 23. The German champ was the strongest from the breakaway that emerged after an impressive battle through the wind. He takes his first La Vuelta stage win after previous successes in the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia. The peloton split on several occasions, with Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step showing their determination to turn the race upside down. But the riders lagging behind always got back until Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) and Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) opened a small gap on the slopes up Collado de la Cruz de Caravaca. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) takes La Roja into the rest day.
On the eve of the rest day, the peloton of La Vuelta 23 face an unprecedented summit finish atop Collado de la Cruz de Caravaca. And Jumbo-Visma are determined to bring battle again, with a windy start. Sepp Kuss, Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard split the bunch from the start!
Echelons from the gun
Wilco Kelderman, Jan Tratnik, Attila Valter and Dylan van Baarle drive the first echelon with their leaders. Only six riders manage to follow their move: Remco Evenepoel, Mattia Cattaneo (Soudal Quick-Step), Matevz Govekar (Bahrain Victorious), Aleksandr Vlasov, Nico Denz and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe).
The leaders cover 50.1km in the first hour and build gap of up to 45’’ to the first peloton, driven by Movistar, UAE Team Emirates and Bahrain Victorious. The chasers get back to the attackers on the first ascent of the day, the cat-1 Puerto Casas de la Marina la Perdiz (summit at km 60.1).
As the race eases up a bit, six riders go on the move: Amanuel Gehbreigzabhier (Lidl-Trek), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), Matteo Sobrero (Jayco AlUla), Ruben Fernandez (Cofidis), Dani Navarro (Burgos-BH) and Jon Barrenetxea (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). Chris Hamilton (DSM-Firmenich) and then Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) join them to make it a 8-man breakaway.
The gap increases to 8’35’’ but the peloton hit another wind exposed section as the race enters the last 80 kilometres. Soudal Quick-Step, Bora-Hansgrohe and Jumbo-Visma collaborate to split the bunch. Only 22 riders remain in the first group. Two contenders from the GC top-10 are caught behind: Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) and Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious).
The gap between the first two pelotons goes up to 1’05’’. Groupama-FDJ drive the chase and bridge the gap with 55km to go. The eight leaders are 3’35’’ away.
Kämna goes solo
The gap increases towards the final climb (8km at 5.6% with irregular slopes). With a lead of 5 minutes, Gehbreigzabhier, Kämna, Caicedo, Sobrero, Fernandez, Hamilton, Navarro and Barrenetxea are set to battle for the stage win.
Kämna goes solo into the last 5 kilometres. Sobrero tries to resist but the German champ powers to his first La Vuelta stage win with a gap of 30’’.
In the GC battle, the times are taken 2km before the line due to the weather conditions. Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) attacks with 3Km to go and opens a small gap alongside Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe).