The longest stage of the 78th Race across Spain was won by Wout Poels after 208 km. The leading trio of Sepp Kuss, Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič crossed the finish line together and hugged for the historic victory of Jumba Visma.
Sepp Kuss with the support of the entire yellow-black team, on the penultimate stage, as expected, he defended the overall lead without strain and will celebrate his greatest success and first victory in the three-week races at Sunday’s parade of champions in Madrid. Second place will be taken by the winner of this year’s Tour de France Jonas Vingegaardand the third Slovenian champion and winner of the Race around Italy Primož Roglič.
“I was very relieved, I need some more rest because of the fast last climb. We are almost at the finish line. We had everything under control, the whole team dictated the rhythm all the time and were brilliant. Primož did a lot of work for me on the last climb and then the whole time dragged on the flat together with Jonas. I never imagined that.” was the humble 29-year-old from Durango, Colorado, after the end of the 20th stage, who will become the second American to win the Tour of Spain. The first was Chris Horner in 2013, who at the time became the oldest overall winner in the history of the three-week race at the age of 41.
A trio of grand tour wins for the annals
The team Jumba Visme therefore won the first three places, thus winning the third three-week race of the season after the Giro d’Italia and Giro d’France, which no other team in cycling history has managed! Before that, only in the Tour of Spain in 1966 did it happen that one team occupied the entire victory stage of the grand tour, which was achieved by the Spanish team Kas Kaskol in a rather diluted competition.
Poels as wine: older and better
The rest of the escapees fought to win the eventful and demanding 20th stage, which at 208 kilometers was the longest stage of this year’s cycling circuit in Spain and resembled the Ardennes monument of Liege-Bastogne-Liege in profile. With an early sprint in a group of five riders, it is Wout Poels came to the first stage victory for the team Bahrain Victorious at this year’s Vuelta, while at the same time preventing the fourth stage celebration by a few centimeters Remce Evenepoel (Soudal QuickStep), who will win the polka dot shirt for the best hillclimber.
“I’m like a bottle of wine, the older I get, the better I am. It’s amazing, and in the penultimate stage I beat Evenepoel, Soler and others. At first I tried to be next to his bike, but they hesitated. I thought I could surprise them . I built up some advantage after the corner, then sprinted at full power and it worked out pretty well.” said Poels, now the winner of the 23rd race of his career.
On the last and most difficult slope of the day, Alto San Lorenzo de El Escorial (4.6 km with 6.6%), the escapees attacked, the jump was the key Poels, who briefly shook off Evenepoel, but the polka-dot jersey holder rejoined the leading group on the descent, which also included Marc Soler, Lennert Van Eetvelt and Pelayo Sanchez Mayo.
Mass flight with the blessing of Jumba
In the original race of the day, there were as many as 31 cyclists, among whom Evenepoel was the highest overall. By the last, tenth, climb of the third category, the escapers had accumulated as much as 11 minutes of advantage. The leadership team Jumbo Visma she controlled the position in the main body, while in the escape group she had bee Wilco Kelderman, who, however, was not lucky enough to get a big shot and his first victory among the cycling elite.
On Sunday, only the last stage in Madrid will be on the schedule, but it will mainly be dedicated to the celebration and the sprint showdown at the end of the 101.5 km route between the Zarzuela Hippodrome and the center of Madrid.
78. RACE ACROSS SPAIN
20th stage: Manzanares el Real-Guadarrama, 208 km
Results powered by FirstCycling.com
Overall order after stage 20: