It was only a matter of timing for Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates), winner of stage 12 of La Vuelta 23 after a dominant sprint in Zaragoza. Frustrated with his positioning in previous finishes, the Colombian arrow enjoyed an impressive lead-out from Rui Oliveira (4th of the stage) to take victory ahead of Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Boy van Poppel (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) after a fast paced day of racing from Olvega. Molano takes his 2nd La Vuelta stage victory after he won in Madrid last year. A major battle now awaits the riders on Friday, with 4,000m of elevation en route to the summit finish at Col du Tourmalet.
A respite for the GC contenders of La Vuelta on the eve of the Tourmalet? On paper, stage 12, from Olvega to Zaragoza, should favour the sprinters. And the scenario from the start favours that outcome.
Two riders rapidly get on the move: Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH) and Abel Balderstone (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). Alpecin-Deceuninck control the gap as they chase a third stage win with Kaden Groves.
Bol attacks (again)
The lead duo push their advantage to 2’35’’ at km 35. But the gap is already down to under 2 minutes as the race enters the last 100 kilometres. And down to 30’’ with 50 kilometres to go.
Bol and Balderstone are caught 44 kilometres away from the line… But Bol immediately attacks again! The Dutch baroudeur is caught again with 38km to go.
Oliveira propels Molano
Kaden Groves dominates the intermediate sprint (18.9km to go) ahead of Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), who takes 4 bonus seconds. The tension is high ahead of the run in to Zaragoza.
Alpecin-Deceuninck move to the front positions inside the last 3 kilometres as they try to position Groves for the win. But Rui Oliveira (UAE Emirates) surges at the perfect moment to launch Sebastian Molano to victory ahead of Groves et Boy van Poppel (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty).