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Vuelta a Espana 2017: De Gendt wins Stage 19 after outsprinting breakaway rivals

Martin James
8 Sep 2017

Again the breakaway succeeds but late Contador surge sees Spaniard close on podium finish

Belgium's Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) won Stage 19 of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana in Gijon after a sprint finish, claiming victory from the remnants of a large break group that finished well clear of the peloton. 

De Gendt won the sprint from Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo) and Ivan Garcia (Bahrain-Merida), who had nearly succeeded in a long solo effort off the front of the break and looked good in the sprint before fading in the final metres. 

The peloton was largely content to let the break go, but on the final 4km climb of the day Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) once again lit up the race with a blistering attack. He topped the climb nearly a minute clear of his GC rivals, but was reeled in again in the final descent to the line after Team Sky drove on in pursuit. 

Same again?

On paper, today’s stage looked broadly similar to yesterday’s, with no massive climbs to worry about but a fair few serious hills.

Unlike yesterday, though, the biggest climb of the day – the 1st category Alto de la Colladona – would be dealt with early on, and there was also no uphill finish to worry about at the end.

All the same, just like yesterday a large group got together off the front of the field, and quickly built a big lead.

Both points jersey hopeful Matteo Trentin and mountains jersey wearer David Villela were present, looking to rake in another hatful of points in their respective competitions.

Other notable names included Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Nicolas Roche (BMC), De Gendt and Romain Bardet (AG2R) – although the Frenchman only made contact after bridging over in a smaller group of nine that missed the initial move.

Back in the peloton, it was a far more orderly affair than yesterday. Team Sky were controlling the pace unchallenged, having reimposed their grip on the race yesterday after looking vulnerable the day before.

There was also the small matter of tomorrow’s stage to the Angliru to consider, which includes a pair of 1st category climbs before they even get to the final showdown.

And with rain forecast for the entire stage, none of the main players looked overly interested in pushing the pace to gain a few seconds today, when the effort could cost minutes tomorrow.

Up for grabs

As a result, the break quickly built a big lead of more than 15 minutes. The stage was clearly there for the taking, but with still upwards of 50km to ride, including a late 3rd category climb, such a large mix of riders was never going to stay intact all the way into Gijon.

By the intermediate sprint at Pola de Siero on 112.2km, their number had dwindled to 17 but Trentin was still there and duly claimed the four points on offer.

The Quick-Step Floors sprinter was now thinking of the possibility of a fourth stage win, but Garcia had other ideas and went off on his own in search of glory.

With nobody willing to commit to the chase, he quickly built a lead of a minute going into the last climb of the day.

By this point the penny had dropped behind, Trentin himself leading the chase before teammate Jungels took over.

The steepest part of the climb brought the best climbers to the front, Roche and then Bardet launching off the front.

Garcia fought on valiantly to go over the top of the climb first, but Bardet was closing fast, and soon made contact with the Spaniard up front.

With 15km of mostly downhill roads left to the finish, Garcia and Bardet were pushing on together up front, but Roche and Costa were just 10 seconds back and soon the four came together just as Contador ignited the fireworks behind.

Roche and Bardet both tried moves to drop their companions, but the infighting between the quartet saw a number of other riders get back into contact, including De Gendt, who timed his sprint perfectly to cross the line first. 

Vuelta a Espana 2017 Stage 19: Parque Natural de Redes - Gijon 149.7km, result

1. Thomas De Gendt (BEL) Lotto-Soudal, 3:35:46
2. Jarlinson Pantano (COL) Trek-Segafredo, at same time
3. Ivan Cortina (ESP) Bahrain-Merida, at st
4. Rui Costa (POR) UAE Team Emirates, at st
5. Floris De Tier (NED) LottoNL-Jumbo, at st
6. Bob Jungels (LUX) Quick-Step Floros, at st
7. Romain Bardet (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale, at st
8. Nicolas Roche (IRL) BMC Racing, at st
9. Daniel Navarro (ESP) Cofidis, at st
10 Koen Bouwman (NED) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 0:45

Vuelta a Espana 2017: General Classification after Stage 19

1. Chris Froome (GBR) Team Sky, 72:03:50
2. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Bahrain-Merida, at 1:37
3. Wilco Kelderman (NED) Team Suweb, at 2:17
4. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) Katusha-Alpecin, at 2:29
5. Alberto Contador (ESP) Trek-Segafredo, at 3:34
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) Astana, at 5:16
7. Michael Woods (CAN) Cannondale-Drapac, at 6.33
8. Fabio Aru (ITA) Astana, at same time 
9. Wout Poels (NED) Team Sky, at 6:47
10. Steven Kruijswijk (NED) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 10:26

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