Bardet’s perfect day
Over the Saturdays, Romain Bardet made a pretty fantastic one.
The DSM rider was part of the 18-man breakaway of stage 14, with the intention of achieving one of two goals: winning the stage or taking control of the mountain classification.
He reached the latter halfway through the stage, being the first to climb the first ascent of Pico Villuercas, replacing Damiano Caruso as jersey carrier.
However, it seemed that he would not get his hands on the air, with his French compatriot Nicolas Prodhomme in the lead over nearly 20 km and looking, at one point, for a very good bet to win the stage.
But when the AG2R Citroën driver was caught up in the last six kilometers, Bardet attacked and finally took a comfortable solo victory over the steep finish slopes by 44 seconds. Remarkably, it was his first Grand Tour stage victory in four years.
As a result of his victory, he collected more KOM points in the process, which means he now has a 19-point lead over Caruso in the jersey race.
Have a glass of red, Romain, and savor the taste of success.
Movistar shoots and López wins four seconds
Yesterday it was Egan Bernal who reduced his delay by five seconds in the GC race, and today it was Miguel Ángel López who set off in search of a few extra seconds that might prove useful at the end of the race. race in eight days.
The Colombian rode extensively for his Movistar teammate, Enric Mas, but is still part of the leadership of the Spanish squad, and the four seconds he racked up was a sign of his form and condition heading into the last week.
His team have been active throughout their Grand Tour at home and it was once again noticeable how eager they were to set the pace for the peloton throughout the stage, hoping perhaps they could to crack Primož Roglič after his two falls of the week.
Sunday’s mountainous stage 15 will be another chance for Movistar to assert his authority over the race, and López looks strong to be at the head of any chaos caused.
But Roglič does not crack and saves time on the leader
Race organizers were hopeful that the double ascent of the formidable – and hitherto unused – Pico Villuercas would cause a long-range attack, but alas, the peloton were happy to let the breakaway decide the outcome of the day.
This would have delighted Roglič and Jumbo-Visma, who will have known that Movistar and Ineos Grenadiers will be encouraged to attack him more given his two falls in the week.
The Slovenian didn’t come under any sustained pressure throughout the stage, however, and unless he gave López four seconds, he actually won time over a few of his rivals, including Adam Yates.
Above all, he finished with 20 seconds ahead of the current race leader Odd Christian Eiking, the Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux rider seeing his lead slide to 54 seconds ahead of Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and 1-36 in Roglič .
It is still a healthy advantage and it is likely that he will enter the second day of rest at the front of the race, but Roglič is about to take the lead again and show that he does not appear to be suffering from his falls. .
Adam Yates wastes time
Just like his twin brother Simon at the Giro d’Italia, Adam Yates does a curious Grand Tour: at times he looks like he is the best climber in the field, and at other days he can’t keep up with the riders he does. he tries to beat.
Stage 14 was another of those for the Briton, giving Roglič and his own team-mate Bernal 12 seconds, the latter who coincidentally seem to have improved a lot in recent days.
Yates has targeted the Vuelta as his main goal for the season, so it’s not hard to say more was expected of him.
Of course, there are still seven stages left and a lot can happen, but sitting 3-13 behind Roglič – who is surely the waiting leader – the Ineos Grenadiers rider cannot afford to continue conceding time, even s ‘it a little bit and not huge chunks of time.
The hope for Yates and his team will be that he has declined enough to peak in the past week and can feel the benefits of not running so much in the summer, unlike Roglič, Enric Mas, Lopez. and Bernal.
Tom Pidcock has his first impressive Grand Tour day
British multidisciplinary rider Tom Pidcock insisted from the start that his Grand Tour debut was about learning and racing through Spain to feel like a three-week stage race.
He started the Vuelta just weeks after becoming Olympic mountain biking champion and has been largely invisible in Spain’s lap, except for a widely shared photo of himself climbing a climb earlier in the race.
On Stage 14, however, Pidcock made his way into the big breakaway and although it never looked like he would win the stage, he remained close to the head of the proceedings when the attacks took hold. started to erupt.
When Nicolas Prodhomme was finally caught up, Pidcock suddenly had a chance to step aside again, only for Bardet to steal the show.
But the 22-year-old continued well and finished fourth in the day’s stage, 1.12 behind Bardet and just four seconds behind his compatriot from Yorkshire Matt Holmes (Lotto-Soudal).
Today was like the day the story of Pidcock’s Grand Tour had its first paragraph written.