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|
|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.