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Vuelta a Espana 2019: Cavagna produces trademark QuickStep ride for win as Movistar cause controversy

Joe Robinson
13 Sep 2019

Three riders in top four for Deceuninck-QuickStep as they prove too strong for the rest

Deceuninck-QuickStep finished with three riders in the top four on Stage 19 to Toledo as Remi Cavagna rode to an impressive solo victory at the Vuelta a Espana.

The Frenchman nipped away from the breakaway in the final 20km, managing his effort on the steep finish to perfection to secure a first career Grand Tour stage win ahead of Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and teammate Zdenek Stybar. Philippe Gilbert rolled in fourth to complete a perfect day for the Belgian team. 

The day's major talking point, however, surrounded a crash to race leader Primoz Roglic earlier in the race.

The Jumbo-Visma rider hit the deck with 65km to go alongside white jersey wearer Miguel Angel Lopez. For 15km, the race leader was forced into a mad chase of the Movistar-led peloton, which had decided to go full tilt towards the line.

Eventually, word got around that Roglic was caught out in the incident and Movistar sat up to allow the leader back into the main group.

It allowed Roglic to finish the stage among his General Classification rivals and carry the race lead into tomorrow's final mountain stage.

Wet weather riding

The rain in Spain falls mainly between Avila and Toledo, or at least it did today for the peloton at the Vuelta a Espana.

Stage 19, a flat 163.4km day for the sprinters just southwest of Spain's capital Madrid, proved a washout with weather akin to Belgium in Spring rather than Iberia in late Summer.

From the gun, the peloton's biggest challenge proved to be the unrelenting rain that battered the main group and the break for most of the day and led to tentative racing in both groups.

Tomorrow is the last chance for the GC contenders to fight for overall victory, and Sunday's finish in Madrid is far more straightforward finish than the uphill, cobbled run to the line here, the breakaway win always looked likely.

And with so much at stake tomorrow, pacemaking duties in the peloton were left to the likes of CCC and Katusha-Alpecin, two teams that had yet to take anything from the race.

They had the task of reeling in a 10-man break that contained some real firepower in the shape of Cavagna and Silvain Dilier (Team Ineos).

They took their job seriously too, and the gap remained steady, under two minutes for most of the day. In fact, by 70km to go, the bunch had reduced the deficit to only 70 seconds, an indication of how everybody wanted the day just to be over.

All was calm until a large crash in the final 65km saw race leader Roglic and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) both floored, creating the day's biggest talking point. 

Getting back up, they had the task of chasing the Movistar-led peloton that had suddenly dropped the hammer, sensing an opportunity for Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana to both benefit.

After about 15km of hard riding, the hammer was lifted as Quintana and Valverde decided to allow an angry Roglic to rejoin the group for normality to resume.

Roglic's mood won't have improved either when he was momentarily caught out in an echelon. He eventually bridged back to the group but it seemed as if the Slovenian was being hit by the unlucky stick.

Among the leaders, Cavagna rolled the dice first in the final 20km, nipping away from the remaining break who were quickly engulfed by the peloton, and drew out a gap of 77 seconds.

The Frenchman head a steady gap despite the peloton cranking up the pace, and it was only when he hit Toledo and the fortified town's steep climbs that the time began to drop quickly, with the gap halving in next to no time. 

Eventually, though, it did not matter because Cavagna's bravely held on for the victory.