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Back on track

The last round of the Hungarian national slalom championship took place on the well known Kakucs Ring on 12th October.

This race was also part of the Middle-European zone race. 70 drivers arrived to the chilly morning to have the last fight for the category podium positions, many of them still not yet decided.

 Szabolcs Sződy and Zsolt Sződy also arrived to earn more points.

“After we checked the track it is evident that the race would be a fast one. We like it. The temperature would be a key factor as for it will reach even 20-24 celcius. So many aspects we need to handle” – said the brothers.

This race is important for Zsolt as for he is still in fight for the third position but for Szabolcs his year-end place is already fixed so he can drive without pressure.

Race laps

Szabolcs started first with the 22 start number. “It is a fast track however there are two spots where the rythm broken a little in a slow S curve. But it is manageable.” His first lap was 02:03,323 sec.

Zsolt followed him a little later with the 52 start number. “It was okay, the asphalt will be hotter later with more grip. I am happy with my time, seems really good.” His clock stopped at 1:58,323 sec.

In the second round Szabolcs left the track on one of the curves, which is not that bad as for there is grass next to it but he did not realise that there was a hole there as well. The car shaked and after he felt some vibration on the car. Luckily the car did not damages and he can continue the race but the lap time was definitely slower (02:04,137).

Zsolt was even faster in his lap and delivered one more excellent time with 01:58,096.

The third laps took place in early afternoon with the warmest condition of the day. The 24 celcius was the air and the track temperature was much also. But the tires warmer faster.

“However in the morning we were looking forward to a hotter condition now we can say that is it too much. We lost some grip. As for the track is a fast one the tyres can quickly reach the optimum temperature but also can be overheated during the lap.” – said Szabolcs was not happy with his next time, it was 2:04,283 sec.

Zsolt did struggle with some gripping problem within his lap and slightly losing control in among the last buoys. ” I left the track to the dust and lost time and gripping as well. I hit one buoy and missed the rest resulted 22 sec penalty. This lap will be definitely eliminated from the final result.” – was sad a little Zsolt (Lap time included penalty 2:24,996).

The temperature was optimal on the forth lap. It is definitely appeared on the times as well.

“This was the target time the whole day, I would like to get beyond two minutes, it nearly happen on the last  lap completed” – said Szabolcs after had a lap of 2:00,525 sec.

“I delivered the 1.58 times the whole day, this was also a good 01:58,375. I hope I will be on the podium.” – said Zsolt.


Race results:


Track racing team reached their best result in this season with today excellent and solid performance of Zsolt, who reached the overall second position in Serie 3 category on the Kakucs Ring. This was the first time second position of Opel. Szabolcs finished at fourth. (hungarian championship points)

  1. Taczman Zsolt Citroen Saxo VTS 00:05:48,268
  2. Sződy Zsolt Opel Tigra 00:05:54,794
  3. Juhász Ádám Citroen Saxo 00:05:57,159
  4. SADOVSKI Milan Citroen Saxo 00:06:00,418 (outside the national championship)
  5. Sződy Szabolcs Opel Tigra 00:06:07,985

  1. overall results, Serie 3 category (between 1400-1600 ccm)
  2. Kaposznyák Mihály Citroen Saxo VTS      58
  3. Ildzsa Dávid Suzuki Ignis                          55
  4. Taczman Zsolt Citroen Saxo VTS               35
  5. Sződy Zsolt Opel Tigra                              34
  6. Sződy Szabolcs Opel Tigra                        27
  7. Juhász Ádám Citroen Saxo VTS                  13
  8. Kovács Viktor Renault Twingo RS               8
  9. Csiszár Alexandra Opel Corsa                       1
  10. Hajdú Eszter BMW                            0

Summary of the day:

“The weather was good however it is the middle of October. It was a fast track with exciting competition.  We did not expect in the morning that we will have a chance for the podium second position, that is a great surprise and nice finish of the season.However we just missed the third place we are not disappointed. Was some chance for it, but finally missed minimum 2 points. It was plan “B” to reach at least another podium today, which completed and it was second place, above all expectation. It was a good race and a good season. Definitely we will analyse the season and based in that prepares for the next season. But right now we have a small celebration with the teammates to close the season.” – said the brothers as not sad.

This was the last race of the season. The yearly summary will come shortly.

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Podium finish again

The 6th race if the Hungarian slalom championship held at Kiskunlacháza, third time this year.
However the track itself was a new one because the championship got another part of the airport service lines than the usual one. The 65 drivers were all excited to the new track.
Semi-new track
The pleasant Indian summer weather welcome the cars and the participants.
Sződy brothers were also excited.
“We like it very much. However this is the third race but it seems to be a new event. The Organizers built a totally new track, nothing like that before. It’s fast, it has rythm, fast straight lines bed followed by slow curves and returns. Enjoyable.” – said the brothers.
Race laps
Zsolt started with number 38 to the track which was longer this time than usual, 1.8km.
“It went well until the end, where I missed the direction of the last two buoys which resulted significant, 40sec time penalty. Overall it was a good lap, I will correct in the next round.” (02:32,722)
Szabolcs started with 76 number.
“I Have experienced in the first live lap how good the rythm of this track has. It is not easy, important to have short brakes and fast speeding and to be quick at the straight lines and in the curves.
You need to use the gear shifts the speed much more. But it is enjoyable and still room for improvement.” – said Szabolcs after finishing his lap at 01:53,172 sec.
The second lap of Zsolt was without mistake and the brothers time was nearly equal, however they have difference within their driving style but that is surprisingly more appear in other circuits than in this long and fast one.
Lap times: Zsolt 01:51,054, Szabolcs 01:51,306.
The temperature if the asphalt was optimal in this third lap. And the difference between the two brothers were only 0.17 sec., as 1:50:152 (Szabolcs) and 1:49:980 sec (Zsolt). These was clear laps.
Final laps
“The last lap will be very exciting because that would decide who will be the third out of us. The harmony is there between the car and the track so it would be decided who can deliver better the last lap.” – talk to us the brothers.
Szabolcs did his best lap of the day. “The temperature of the track dropped but everything else was optimal for me. I did not concentrate better this time but the practice deliver the better result. I am happy with it. When I returned to the depo I got the news that I would finish at third.” (01:49,809)
Zsolt was slower more than a second and that costed the podium for him.
“I do not know why but I was not that good in the fourth lap. There were no mistakes but that was all in this lap. Szabi deserved to be the third, he was good all day.”
Podium ceremony
Szody brothers got faster and faster in the second part of the season and managed to get another throphy after Kalocsa in Series 3 category. But this time Szabolcs takes it.
1. Kaposznyák Mihály, Citroen Saxo VTS        58
2. Ildzsa Dávid, Suzuki Ignis                             55
3. Sződy Zsolt, Opel Tigra                              30
4. Taczman Zsolt, Citroen Saxo VTS                24
4. Sződy Szabolcs, Opel Tigra                       24   
6. Kovács Viktor, Renault Twingo RS                  8
7. Juhász Ádám, Citroen Saxo VTS                    7
8. Csiszár Alexandra, Opel Corsa                       1
9. Hajdú Eszter, BMW                                         0
On the overall standing Zsolt is at third, Szabolcs at fourth position, just one race to go.
Summary of the day
“However it was a replacement race it brought excitement for everyone. Good track, well organised rounds, excellent lines. The podium position for Szabolcs reached only 0.9 sec after three laps, thanks to a combination of precise and fast driving. The car worked well, it was stable and accelerate well and the temperature was optimal for the wheels.
We are deserved today’s result and looking forward to the last race, it comes only two weeks.” – summarised the day the drivers of Track Racing.
The next race will be in 12th of October at the Kakucs Ring. The last round decide the finally overall standing in S3 category end of this season.
Photos: Track Racing
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2019 NFL Predictions-Week 1

Week 1

Thursday, Sept. 5

Green Bay 36% 10
Chicago -4 64% 3

Sunday, Sept. 8

Atlanta 41%
Minnesota -2.5 59%
Baltimore -3 61%
Miami 39%
Buffalo 45%
N.Y. Jets -1.5 55%
1 p.m.
Kansas City -2.5 58%
Jacksonville 42%
1 p.m.
L.A. Rams -0.5 52%
Carolina 48%
1 p.m.
Tennessee 40%
Cleveland -3 60%
1 p.m.
Washington 23%
Philadelphia -8.5 77%
4:05 p.m.
Cincinnati 25%
Seattle -8 75%
4:05 p.m.
Indianapolis 28%
L.A. Chargers -6.5 72%
4:25 p.m.
Detroit -0.5 51%
Arizona 49%
4:25 p.m.
N.Y. Giants 26%
Dallas -7.5 74%
4:25 p.m.
San Francisco 45%
Tampa Bay -1.5 55%
8:20 p.m.
Pittsburgh 32%
New England -5 68%

Monday, Sept. 9

Houston 32%
New Orleans -5 68%
Denver 49%
Oakland -0.5 51%
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If Vegas Predicts Your NFL Team For Six Wins, You May Be In Luck

We’ve already published our Elo projections, and we think they’re the best we’ve ever produced for the NFL, but there will still be lots of misses to grouse about come January. Forecasting a sport as luck-driven as the NFL is rough that way.

It raises the question: How good are betting markets at predicting team wins? To find out, I got my hands on a tranche of win prediction data stretching back to 1989, courtesy of Sports Odds History, and checked how well Vegas preseason win totals predict actual team wins. While Vegas overall does a good job identifying good and bad teams, it turns out that at the lower end of the range of projected wins, Vegas predictions don’t seem particularly well calibrated — though the confidence intervals at the lower end are large because of the small sample size, so the results aren’t statistically significant.

Projected win totals of six and fewer undersell teams’ prospects by about a win on average, with the exception of teams forecast for five wins.

Win totals don’t change as frequently as the moneyline odds, so we probably shouldn’t take win totals at face value — at least for teams with low projected wins. What does this mean for non-bettors? It should be decent news for the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins — teams that both Elo and Vegas have pegged for six wins in 2019 — since we should be more bullish on their chances than we currently are.

Optimism for these probable cellar dwellers might feel forced. But we should fight the urge toward overconfidence, especially in the face of history. A few of these teams will end up surprising us — in a good way — at the end of the year for reasons inscrutable to us now.

Which NFL teams might beat expectations?

Average actual wins (1989-2018) by Vegas preseason expected wins, and the 2019 teams at each number of expected wins

11.0 10.2 New England
10.5 9.9 Kansas City, L.A. Rams, New Orleans
10.0 8.8 Philadelphia
9.5 9.0 Chicago, Green Bay, L.A. Chargers
9.0 8.5 Cleveland, Dallas, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Pittsburgh
8.5 8.9 Atlanta, Baltimore, Houston, Seattle
8.0 7.4 Jacksonville, San Francisco, Tennessee
7.5 7.6 Carolina
7.0 6.9 Buffalo, Denver, N.Y. Jets
6.5 6.4 Detroit, Tampa Bay
6.0 6.7 Cincinnati, N.Y. Giants, Oakland, Washington
5.0 4.6 Arizona, Miami


Well … maybe not the Bengals. Not only is Cincinnati saddled with an injured A.J. Green, who appears to be out until around Week 8, the Bengals have an offense that is bereft of top talent at nearly every position. Cincinnati replaced head coach Marvin Lewis after 16 seasons of on-again, off-again contention and turned instead to Zac Taylor, a coach best known for being friends with L.A. Rams wunderkind Sean McVay. The hope must be that Taylor can revitalize the career of quarterback Andy Dalton, who sports a middling career yards per attempt of 7.2 and is one of the few starting quarterbacks who Vegas believes wouldn’t move a line if he were to be replaced in the lineup. The defense doesn’t offer a compelling reason for optimism: The Bengals ranked 28th in defensive Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) last season. Perhaps we should view that as a reason to be bullish on their prospects in 2019 simply due to regression, since defensive performance year to year isn’t terribly stable. If that seems like a bridge too far, magic might be the answer: Taylor may give lip service to the notion that he isn’t trying to be like his mentor McVay, but McVay’s brand of QB sorcery seems like the best hope for the Bengals to crest seven wins this year.

The Giants are more interesting. After a promising preseason performance by first-round pick Daniel Jones, New York fans are clamoring for a change of the guard at quarterback. As big of a reach as many believed Jones to be, I still see him as a better use of first-round draft capital than “generational talent” Saquon Barkley. Hailed as a potential savior and the missing piece for Eli Manning’s final championship push, Barkley helped the Giants improve from a terrible three-win team in 2017 to a merely bad five-win unit in 2018.

The Giants were second-worst in the league on Expected Points Added per play on first-down play-action passes after adding Saquon to the backfield,1 and prospects for a bounceback in play-action efficiency seem bleak. After trading all-world wideout Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns, the Giants lost free agent acquisition Golden Tate to a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs and their expected No. 3 wideout Corey Coleman to a season-ending ACL injury. Their best hope for a productive season may rest in ownership’s willingness to bench Manning for good this time.

The other team to somehow accumulate negative value on first-down play action was Oakland. In what seems to be a pattern for teams at the bottom of the win total forecast, Vegas sees Derek Carr as a quarterback worth just 1 point to the spread. The stats back up that view. Carr’s career yards per attempt is, at 6.7, below league average, and his best season as judged by QBR is an anemic 54.6. His weapons are improved from a year ago, but they are volatile. New Raiders wideout Antonio Brown sat out of practice because he wasn’t allowed to wear a helmet the NFL deems dangerous and is now likely to be suspended for some period of time, and Tyrell Williams is a boom or bust weapon who likes to be targeted deep — something Carr may be reluctant to do given his career average depth of target of just 7.7 yards. Meanwhile “Hard Knocks” captured head coach Jon Gruden disparaging “all the football stats and all the fantasy bullshit” in favor of running backs that will “BOOF” the opposing team in pass protection. Of all the six-win teams, Oakland may be the most unpredictable — and that unpredictability could manifest itself in good ways, as well as bad. Brown’s antics could end with a fashionable and safe new helmet, Carr might be coaxed into throwing the deep ball to a talented field stretcher, and Gruden might use rookie running back Josh Jacobs optimally, leading to wins we simply can’t foresee at this point.

The final team projected for six wins in 2019 is Washington, a team that somehow came to the determination that Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson were better choices than Colin Kaepernick to take over for quarterback Alex Smith when his 2018 season — and perhaps his career — ended with a gruesome leg injury.

In the draft, Washington team president Bruce Allen added Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins in the first round but then failed to surround him with receiving weapons. Jamison Crowder left via free agency, former first-round bust Josh Doctson was released at the end of the preseason and tight end Jordan Reed suffered another concussion heading into Week 1. Their current starting wide receivers are third-round pick Terry McLaurin — also from Ohio State — and Paul Richardson.

The outlook at running back is brighter with the return of Derrius Guice from an ACL tear that derailed his rookie season, but there is little evidence to suggest they will put him in advantageous spots to run the ball. With the ageless, tackle-breaking cyborg Adrian Peterson in 2018, Washington lined up against neutral or stacked boxes on first-and-10 or second and long 174 times, decided they liked the look and ran right into the scrum 72 percent of the time. But if Washington can flip the script on downs tailor-made for passing and eke out some yards where they should come easy, the duo of Guice and Peterson could be enough to protect current starter Case Keenum or rookie Haskins while he learns on the job — and possibly beat the team’s six-win projection.

Check out our latest NFL predictions.

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34th Wizz Air Budapest Half Marathon

The biggest half marathon in Central Europe on the 2nd Sunday of September

Participating in the half marathon is essentially a running sightseeing tour of the beautiful Budapest. The course runs through the heart of Budapest, crosses several bridges and passes the most well-known sites of the city. Admire the view of the Buda Castle from the Danube banks and marvel in the panorama of Pest as well as Europe’s third largest Parliament building!

Run the 21 km individually or with your friends in a team of two or three.

There are over 15.000 participants on all the distances, with more than 10.000 half marathon runners and 1500 teams. However, no need to worry about crowding and overtaking as the start is done in waves so everyone has plenty of space to run.


In 2018, there were more than 2700 foreign runners, almost 2000 of whom run the half marathon, from 82 countries. Most runners came from Britain, Slovakia and Poland, but there were also participants from Chile, Indonesia, and Singapore, just to name a few.

Along the course there will be refreshments every 4 to 5 kilometers and of course continuous medical supervisionPace runners will help you hit your desired tempo. But having fun is just as important as running so we’ll maintain several musical points along the course for your entertainment.

Each year participants receive a unique, race branded technical T-shirt and finishers are given a gorgeous medal. Designs change every year, here is the medal from 2019:



Budapest is the perfect destination for a weekend city trip. Budapest is the spa capital with over 100 thermal springs beneath the city that supply the famous baths. After the run, you can rest your leg in the thermal pools of a unique 16th and 17th-century Turkish baths or the neo-baroque Széchenyi bath.

Also unique to Europe are Budapest’s ruin pubs. Located in the city centre, this new function saved countless old, run-down building from demolition. Their atmosphere is unusual, their style is retro and they revive socialist realist interior design. The perfect place to grab a drink the night before or after the race.

And while you are here don’t forget to try out the best of Hungary’s cuisine: a goulash, a stew, a strudel, and a pancake.
If your stomach is sensitive, you may want to leave this for after the race!

Watch this short video about the city and let yourself to be wowed:

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Athletics: Amputee Leeper to miss worlds over eligibility issue

American double amputee Blake Leeper will not be eligible to compete in this month’s world championships while an advisory group determines his eligibility, the IAAF, athletics’ governing body, said on Saturday.

Leeper, who was born without legs below the knees, finished fifth in the 400 metres at the U.S. championships in July which normally would have qualified him for the Americans’ world championships 4 x 400m relay squad.

But the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said on Saturday that the 30-year-old will not be eligible for the Sept. 27-Oct 6 championships in Doha.

“An application has been submitted by Mr Leeper to compete in the 2019 World Championships and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games which is under review by an advisory group,” the IAAF said in a statement to Reuters.

“A recommendation from the advisory group will be made later this year so Mr Leeper will not be eligible to compete in this month’s WCHs.”

The advisory group will determine whether Leeper’s prostheses give him an advantage over other competitors and it will be Leeper’s burden to prove they do not, his lawyers said in a statement on Thursday

The attorneys represented South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius, winning a 2008 ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that he could race against able-bodied athletes.

This time, they have objected to the burden of proof being shifted to Leeper, a silver medallist at the 2012 Paralympics.

“The IAAF placing the burden of proof on Mr. Leeper is inconsistent with the precedent of Oscar Pistorius, in which the IAAF had the burden of proof to show that Mr. Pistorius’s prostheses provided him with an overall competitive advantage,” Leeper’s lawyers said.

“[It was] a burden that the IAAF failed to establish which enabled Mr. Pistorius to compete in IAAF events and the 2012 London Olympics.”

Leeper himself also objected. “The IAAF placing the burden on disabled athletes to prove that their prostheses do not provide an overall advantage is wrong and unlawful,” he said in the statement.

The IAAF said on Saturday it would not comment beyond its statement.

“The IAAF competition rules state clearly that mechanical assistance to athletes is not allowed during athletics competitions, unless the athlete can establish on the balance of probabilities that the use of an aid would not provide him with an overall competitive advantage,” the IAAF told Reuters in July.

Leeper was allowed to compete in the U.S. championships on a conditional basis, U.S. officials have said, but the IAAF has declined to recognise his results this year.

“His results will not be ratified, because the athlete has not provided any evidence to IAAF that meets the rule stated above nor have the blades been classified under the new Maximum Allowable Standing Height (MASH) formula,” the IAAF said in July.

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Venus runner-up again at US Open

New Zealand’s Michael Venus and his Chinese Taipei Hao-Ching partner have been beaten in straight sets in the mixed doubles final at the US Tennis Open in New York.

England’s Jamie Murray and American Bethanie Mattek-Sands defended their title with a 6-2 6-3 win.

Venus and Chan also finished runnersup to Murray in the 2017 final in New York with Murray playing with Swiss great Martina Hingis on that occasion.

It’s Murray’s seventh grand slam doubles title, and fifth in mixed.

Michael Venus and his Chinese Taipei partner Hao-Ching Chan (left) finished runners-up to Britain’s Jamie Murray and American Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Photo: U.S. Tennis Open

A break of the Venus serve, courtesy of a stunning Mattek-Sands return, gave the Glasgow-Minnesota alliance the early initiative.

Murray’s instinctive volley then secured the double break and the opening set was wrapped up in 27 minutes.

Mattek-Sands’ presence had ensured the backing of the home crowd on Arthur Ashe, and they roared with delight when her backhand return whizzed past Venus on championship point.

The colourful American whipped out her phone to take a selfie with her partner as they celebrated a dominant win.

“We played amazing the whole two weeks, a lot of great tennis,” said Murray.

“It’s easier playing on the big courts, I know Beth loves it, playing in front of lots of people and she played an amazing match.

“She says I’m the yin to her yang. We’re really happy to win again.”


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Motor racing-Hamilton says Monza pole farce marks a dangerous trend

The fastest track on the calendar produced one of the slowest ever final shootouts for pole position ahead of Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.

Nine drivers did all they could to avoid taking the lead, all eager to get a tow from someone else at a track where the aerodynamic pull from a car in front can be significant, until most ran out of time.

The pole was decided on the first flying laps, clocked before red flags came out as Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen crashed at Parabolica.

When the session resumed, drivers left it late to come out and then drove too slowly to get round to start one final flying lap.

“Everyone going out as late as we just did there, for example, with two minutes to go, it’s going to continue to be an issue in places where you particularly need a tow,” said Hamilton.

“It won’t be until someone crashes that they’ll change it, most likely.

“The drag is a big issue here, the tow is a key to getting a good lap. Everyone was slowing right down and also blocking the way, so you couldn’t really get through. It was pretty dangerous,” added the Mercedes driver.

“I nearly crashed a couple of times trying to stay out of the way of the guys that were braking ahead of me and then people trying to come past me.”

Hamilton will start on the front row, next to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff agreed the situation was also an unintented consequence of aerodynamic changes introduced this season that have made it easier for drivers to follow each other and overtake.

“I think what we saw today, the consequence of all cars missing the last lap, is just a shame for Formula One and doesn’t do any of the teams and drivers any good,” said the Austrian.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, who qualified fifth, said Leclerc had been lucky, but also saw the funny side of the situation.

“The reality is no-one wanted to be first,” he said. “You just give everyone else a tow and not yourself. You bleed a couple of tenths… it’s more knowing that you’re helping everyone else.

“I think we should probably just get a talking to and make sure it doesn’t happen again because we all miss out and so do the fans. The real winners were the Leclerc fans — they certainly won.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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Vuelta a Espana 2019-Gilbert back to winning ways on stage 12

After Mikel Iturria’s triumph the previous day, it was another day for the breakaway on stage 12 of the Vuelta a España, with Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-QuickStep) taking a dramatic solo victory in the Basque Country.

The Belgian attacked on the last of three punchy climbs in the final 40km, and held off the chasing Alexander Aranburu (Caja Rural) and Fernando Barceló (Euskadi-Murias) on the 8km run down into Bilbao.

It wasn’t an easy day for the overall contenders as it took 100km for a breakaway to form in what was a rapid opening two hours. However, and despite the peloton being vastly reduced by the searingly steep final climb, there were no open hostilities among the red jersey hopefuls and no change to the overall standings.

The Vuelta continues on Friday with a key stage for those title contenders, with a summit finish in store at Los Machucos.

Pos. Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 3:48:18
2 Alexander Aranburu Deba (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:00:03
3 Fernando Barcelo Aragon (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
4 José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:22
5 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:00:26
6 Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:29
7 Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
8 Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Pro Team
9 Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
10 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:31
General classification after stage 12
Pos. Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 44:52:08
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:52
3 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:02:11
4 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:00
5 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:05
6 Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal 0:04:59
7 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:05:42
8 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:05:49
9 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 0:06:07
10 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:06:25


The 2019 Vuelta a España begins in Torrevieja on Saturday August 23 and finishes in Madrid on September 15.

The route, unveiled in a ceremony in Alicante in December, sees the number of summit finishes cut back a touch from nine to eight, but it’s still a mountainous route that sticks with the Vuelta’s recent traditions.

Some brutally steep climbs have been sought out for the occasion, with the 4km Mas de la Costa and the painfully steep Los Machucos returning to the route. Andorra is also back on the menu and will host a short but punchy stage to bring week one to a close. The 100-kilometre route comprises five climbs and will ensure some gaps in the overall classification.

There will be just over 60 kilometres against the clock, with a 24km team time trial in Torrevieja opening the race and a 36.1km individual chrono in Pau at the start of the second week.

The final week of action gives the sprinters more opportunities to find glory, along with two important mountain stages in the Sierras around Madrid, before the last stage into the Spanish capital.

  • Race preview: Opportunity knocks at Vuelta a España 2019

In the absence of 2018 champion Simon Yates, the 2019 Vuelta looks wide open, with a range of candidates and a sense anything can happen. Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde are two of three former winners on the start line – alongside Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) – and head up a Movistar team without Giro d’Italia champion Richard Carapaz, who was ruled out through injury just 48 hours before the start of the race.

Primoz Roglic, third at the Giro, is very much among the favourites, and his Jumbo-Visma team have a credible alternative in Steven Kruijswijk, who was third at the Tour de France.

Movistar and Jumbo-Visma seem the strongest teams in the race, but elsewhere are a number of interesting challengers, including Colombians Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott), and Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First). Team Ineos leadership is shared between Wout Poels and 24-year-old Tao Geoghegan Hart, while two-time top-10 finisher Wilco Kelderman leads Sunweb and Rafal Majka leads Bora-Hansgrohe.

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Vuelta a España: Sam Bennett uncertain of stage 14 victory until after the line

The first moment that Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) knew he had taken his second stage of the 2019 Vuelta a España came when he saw the team soigneurs celebrating as he eased to a halt after the stage 14 finish line in Oviedo.

More than a sprint, with the peloton mauled by the late crash, Bennett had to make a lengthy late charge for the line to succeed.

When he reached the finish in central Oviedo, the reigning Irish road champion said later that he wasn’t certain if the breakaway of the day had managed to stay away.

“I was afraid to celebrate because I wasn’t really on the front until 6 or 5 ks to go,” Bennett, already the winner of the Vuelta’s stage three, said afterwards.

“I didn’t know whether to celebrate or not, I’ve made that mistake in the past, and it’s so embarrassing.” 

Bennett also expressed his hopes that the victims of the mass crash in the final kilometre were doing OK. He and the front 20 or 30 riders had luckily managed to avoid the accident.

“I heard a crash, but it was behind, then QuickStep came fully organised and ready for the sprint, and also UAE were there, it didn’t really affect the front of the bunch,” he said.

Victorious on stage 3 and then defeated by Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Fabio Jakobsen on stage 4, Bennett’s mini breakaway to his fifth Grand Tour stage victory had come after Bora-Hansgrohe had done what he called a “fantastic job” of keeping him in the front.

“We started slowing down on the steepest part of the final and one guy [Tosh Van De Sande of Lotto-Soudal – ed.] came past at speed and I didn’t want to wait too long,” Bennett recalled.

“[Max] Richeze went, and I was afraid the other guy was going too fast, so I just I took a run at the two of them and had good speed in the end. When I saw there were 300 metres to go, thought ‘oh it’s too far’, but I had enough power.”

Although he has had one-day race victories, most of Bennett’s wins to date have been in stage races. But his mini breakaway to the finish of the Vuelta’s stage 14 could fuel speculation that he will maybe transfer his skills to more challenging Classics in the future.

“I’ve been told in the past I don’t have the capacity to be a pure sprinter and I should be more of a Classics rider because I have a high VO2 max and a bigger engine than I do the sprint,” Bennett said.

“But I just want to be a sprinter, so I probably force myself to be something that I’m not. Maybe I shouldn’t really be a sprinter, but I don’t care because I can get the results.”

In the short-term, Bennett said, he felt a considerable amount of pressure in the Vuelta to succeed because there are so few opportunities in the Spanish Grand Tour.

“I have to wait so long to get a sprint [stage], you ride around for 11 days feeling pretty useless and so then when it comes to a sprint you have to perform,” he reflected. But when the opportunity finally came around on stage 14 of the Vuelta, Bennett indeed showed he knew how to take it.