Jonas Vingegaard in contention for the final victory in La Vuelta
On the day before the terrible Angliru few could have expected the development of stage 16 of La Vuelta a España 2023. Crazy day from the start and in which Jumbo-Visma was again tremendously ambitious. Jonas Vingegaard came out on top again, not only winning the stage but also getting closer to the lead of his teammate Sepp Kuss.
Frenzied pace in La Vuelta on the eve of the Angliru
Few could have foreseen the crazy stage we have experienced today in La Vuelta a España. A very short day, of only 120 kilometers, all on broken terrain but without difficulty for the professionals along the Cantabrian coast, from Santander to Unquera, the gateway to Asturias to finish going up the iconic gorge of La Hermida and reach the finish line in the small town of Bejes after 5 kilometers of a very hard climb.
Stage that started with constant attacks trying to find the breakaway in what was the script written in advance. A breakaway of the day driven by Kaden Groves who is more motivated every day that passes in this race and has practically assured the green jersey of the points classification.
However, INEOS Grenadiers was determined to place a rider in the breakaway and set a devastating pace in the peloton to try to close the cut to 10 riders, something they achieved with only 78 km to go. However, the effort took its toll on them and in the breakaway that followed the chase they had no strength to keep up. Attacks that left Groves and 4 other riders in the lead.
Then it was Jumbo-Visma who took the lead of the peloton in a clear intention to add one more stage to their record in this lap, today in a particularly hard day for them after the traffic accident suffered in the morning in Belgium by their rider Nathan Van Hooydonck, who, according to the latest information, remained in serious condition in the hospital. Sending him energy and dedicating a victory to him seemed to be the motivation of the Dutch team.
A devastating pace on the approach and barely fifteen riders reached the hard initial ramps where Marc Soler was the first victim of so much intensity, being cut at the first change. Vigilance was maintained in the group until, at the exit of a tremendously steep curve, Jonas Vingegaard launched a very hard attack that no one was able to respond.
Wout Poels went out in pursuit but with no signs of being able to catch the Dane. Also started in the group the UAE Team Emirates rider Finn Fisher-Black who for a kilometer kept a hard pulse with Vingegaard and it seemed that he could even hunt him down, however, a small stretch of false flat in the middle of the climb served for the Jumbo-Visma rider to open a substantial gap that at 2 km from the finish line was 50 seconds over a group of favorites who were watching each other without deciding to go to the chase. Only Almeida and Uijtdebroeks tried to move timidly.
However, in what looked like it could be a repeat of the Tourmalet, it was Primoz Roglic who took off but, seeing only Juan Ayuso and Enric Mas on his wheel while leader Sepp Kuss dropped a few meters and seemed to suffer, he decided to lift his foot to wait for his teammate.
Meanwhile, Jonas Vingegaard crossed the finish line victorious with a 1 minute advantage over the rest of the favorites, which allowed him to take a big bite out of the disadvantage he had in the general classification and leaves him only 29 seconds behind the leader, making him now the top favorite for the final victory given the progression he is showing since he won a few days ago in the Tourmalet.
Stage 16 Classification
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 2h38’23’’
- Finn Fisher-Black (UAE Team Emirates) +43’’
- Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious) +49’’
- Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ) +55’’
- Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) +01’01’’
- Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +01’01’’
- Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) +01’01’’
- Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +01’01’’
- Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) +01’05’’
- Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +01’05’’
- Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +57h18’10’’
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +29’’
- Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1’33’’
- Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) +2’33’’
- Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +3’02’’
- Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) +3’28’’
- Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) +4’12’’
- Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) +4’58’’
- Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bora-Hansgrohe) +5’38’’
- Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +8’43’’