Stage win for Primoz Roglic, red jersey for Sepp Kusss in La Vuelta
Another great day for Jumbo-Visma, which controlled the 8th stage of the Vuelta a España 2023 to round off a great stage with the victory of Primoz Roglic and a Sepp Kuss who managed to take the lead of the race thanks to the advantage gained. Great sensations for Remco Evenepoel and Enric Mas, who put away the ghosts that could have arisen after the arrival in Javalambre.
Jumbo-Visma's dominance in La Vuelta continues, but its rivals aren't intimidated
A new day of medium mountains in the interior of the province of Alicante. A hard stage of 165 kilometers between Denia and Xorret de Catí, a traditional finish of La Vuelta. Tough terrain punctuated by no less than 5 scoring ports in a terrain that, as happened the other day in Andorra, the riders of the peloton know perfectly well since most of them spend many weeks training in this area during the winter months.
As expected, many attacks at the start that configured, a few kilometers later, a group of 15 riders. However, the first climb of the day was close and with the arrival of the pass of Vall d'Ebo the attacks returned, which ended up forming a group of no less than 30 riders that foreshadowed a crazy stage like the other day.
Of course, there was a high level in the leading group with riders like Jonathan Castroviejo, Damiano Carusso, Kenny Elissonde, Bauke Mollema, Thomas De Gendt, Rui Costa, Oier Lazkano, Romain Bardet or Jesús Herrada, being the best classified rider the Spaniard Cristian Rodríguez, positioned at 4'01''.
They strengthened their gap after crowning this first pass in a complicated terrain that led to the second climb, the Alto de Tollos, a short climb, narrow road and significant slopes. At the top it was Thomas De Gendt who went ahead trying to offer a new exhibition despite the many kilometers that still remained of the stage.
The Belgian managed to reach the Benifallín pass, where new attacks broke the breakaway. De Gendt, suffering from cramps, had to give way during the descent and the various cuts that had occurred ended in regrouping along the climb to another classic of Alicante cycling as is the Col de la Carrasqueta. A union that did not mean peace but quite the opposite, the return of the attacks between the escapees that left us an attractive development of the stage.
However, this situation meant that the gap to the peloton was reducing, also because of the great work of Robert Gesink in the peloton, standing at less than 3 minutes on this climb to La Carrasqueta when it had come to exceed 5 minutes. The attacks left a small group of five riders at the head of the race, with Oier Lazkano showing himself to be the strongest.
In the terrain that followed the mountain pass, even with some small, non-scoring passes such as the section between the end of the descent to Ibi or the Revoltes pass at the exit of this town, the attacks continued, which finally caused a selection in the breakaway that left Lazkano, Rui Costa, Andreas Kron and Damiano Caruso in the lead. However, behind, the peloton redoubled its hunting pace with Dylan van Baarle entering to collaborate with his teammate Robert Gesink, which clearly reduced the gap and suggested that the fight for the stage was likely to remain between the favorites.
Arriving in Castalla, just a few kilometers from the start of the climb to Xorret de Catí, the escapees were barely a minute ahead of the Jumbo-Visma that was already at the head of the peloton, anticipating a battle between the contenders for the final victory. Gradually Movistar also moved into the lead, as did UAE Team Emirates, since the start of the climb is extremely violent, with very hard ramps from the beginning
At the start of the climb Lazkano and Rui Costa held a slim lead. Behind Geraint Thomas was cut off at the first change, a clear indication that yesterday's crash was taking its toll on him. Also the leader Lenny Martinez did the same while Sepp Kuss was the first to move opening a small gap that caused the selection, leaving Evenepoel, Roglic, Vingegaard, Mas and Ayuso in the lead, who gradually gave chase to the American.
The pace was slowed down, which also allowed Almeida and Marc Soler to enter, until, seeing the trap that the Jumbo-Visma men were preparing for him, Remco Evenepoel decided to set a hard pace at the front with which he achieved the objective of avoiding attacks.
The only thing left to decide was the winner of the stage after the short and intense descent that separated the summit from the finish line. A great tactical duel that seemed to go to Remco, who reached the last corner in the lead. However, unlike what happened in Andorra, today Primoz Roglic was back to his usual self. He easily caught the Belgian's wheel at the start and easily went up to take the victory. Behind them both came Juan Ayuso, with the three of them gaining a couple of seconds on the rest of the group, in which Sepp Kuss once again rounded off a great day for Jumbo-Visma by taking the leader's red jersey.
Stage 8 Classification
- Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 4h13’52’’
- Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) +00’’
- Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates)+00’’
- Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +02’’
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +02’’
- Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +02’’
- Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Vismaa) +02’’
- Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) +02’’
- Wout Poel (Bahrain-Victorious) +34’’
- Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) +39’’
- Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) 30h51’06’’
- Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) +43’’
- Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) +01’00’’
- Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious) +02’05’’
- Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) +02’29’’
- Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) +02’31’’
- Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +02’38’’
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +02’42’’
- Enric Mas (Movistar Team)+02’42’’
- Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) +02’52’’