A relentless Rui Costa wins stage 15 of La Vuelta

Road 10/09/23 17:13 Migue A.

A breakaway day in La Vuelta a España 2023 to culminate the second week and in which a reconverted Remco Evenepoel was again the protagonist of the breakaway of the day. A breakaway that took more than half a stage to form with even UAE Team Emirates trying to find a decisive move.

Remco Evenpoel still having fun in La Vuelta despite not being able to beat a great Rui Costa

Last chapter of La Vuelta before closing the second week and enjoying tomorrow's well-deserved rest day. Before that, the peloton had to face a stage with certain characteristics of a classic through Navarre, starting in Pamplona and heading towards Lekunberri, after passing the pass of Lizarraga and a final circuit that included a double climb to the small pass of Zuarrarrate.

A stage that, as expected, was very tempting for a breakaway, so the race went at a breakneck speed with a clear protagonist in many of the cut attempts: the favorite turned stage-hunter Remco Evenepoel.

However, none of the attempts came to fruition, causing the race to devour kilometers at a hair-raising pace until reaching the foot of Lizarraga without a breakaway. The umpteenth attack by Evenepoel did form a group that looked like walking on the first ramps of the pass when, unexpectedly, UAE Team Emirates decided to move the tree and attacks by Marc Soler and Joao Almeida followed, in which even the leader Sepp Kuss himself had to close gaps.

In fact, for a few kilometers there was a break with Marc Soler, Jonas Vingegaard and Aleksandr Vlasov that only served to neutralize the leaders and the race ended up regrouped again. Taking advantage of the calm after the storm, Remco Evenepoel made a new attempt, now near the top, and now it was successful, forming a cut of 10 riders in which he was accompanied by people like Kamna, Buitrago, Caicedo, Rui Costa or Cristian Rodriguez.

Behind did not want to leave too much difference to the escapees, Jumbo-Visma trying to avoid the distant possibility that Remco could get back into the general classification and, also appeared Alpecin-Deceunink that, given the profile of the final circuit and the contained hardness of Zuarrarrate, decided to bet that Kaden Groves could overcome it with options to dispute the stage.

But at the front, Remco's strength made it difficult to reduce the gap, which increased again on the first ascent to Zuarrarrate thanks to Santiago Buitrago, who was trying to select the breakaway.

They started the second climb with the Alpecin-Deceunink rider Jimmi Janssens taking advantage of the momentum after the bonus sprint with a lot of kilometers on the wheel with the excuse that his team was pulling behind. It was Buitrago who was responsible for closing the gap, with Rui Costa on his wheel. Meanwhile, surprisingly, Remco was a little cut behind, perhaps suffering from the effort of the very hard stage the day before.

Buitrago tried to drop Rui Costa, but he was a tough nut to crack. Meanwhile, with about twenty seconds lost, Remco could not close the gap and could not find collaboration among the rest of the escapees to do so. In fact, with just over a kilometer to go Evenepoel gave up the chase to stay at the back of the group and save his strength for another day.

In front, Buitrago played poker with Rui Costa, knowing that he could not let him go and that he should not lead him to the wheel. This caused a break that was used to bring in Lennard Kamna. Taking advantage of the small moment of confusion and with the mountain pass already in sight, Buitrago launched a hard breakaway to start the descent with a few meters of advantage trying to surprise.

With 4 km to go, in the middle of the descent, it was Kamna who tried it, managing to get a few tens of meters while Buitrago again made a bluff trying to leave the toast to Rui Costa. However, the risk that Kamna took to try to consolidate the gap made him go long in a curve, fortunately with a good escape on grass but that did not prevent him from crashing and ended his chances of winning the stage that was to be decided in the last kilometer between the Colombian and the Portuguese.

But so much was the vigilance between the two that Kamna would get a second chance that he would never have counted on, returning the outcome to become a matter of three in the sprint. Kamna launched the first but, as expected, Rui Costa was the fastest rider in these races and managed to come back with some ease to win the stage. There was no movement in the group of favorites, who crossed the finish line almost 3 minutes later.

Stage 15 Classification

  1. Rui Costa (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) 3h30’56’’
  2. Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) +00’’
  3. Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) +00’’
  4. Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) +02’’
  5. Andreas Kron (Lotto-Dstny) +02’’
  6. Einer Rubio (Movistar Team) +02’’
  7. Cristian Rodriguez (Arkéa-Samsic) +02’’
  8. Christopher Hamilton (DSM-Firmenich) +02’’
  9. Nico Denz (Bora-Hansgrohe) +36’’
  10. Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Deceuninck) +01’07’’

Overall Classification

  1. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +54h38’42’’
  2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1’37’’
  3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +1’44’’
  4. Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) +2’37’’
  5. Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +3’06’’
  6. Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) +3’10’’
  7. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) +4’12’’
  8. Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) +5’02’’
  9. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bora-Hansgrohe) +5’30’’
  10. Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +8’39’’



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Un incombustible Rui Costa culmina la fuga de la etapa 15 de La Vuelta