Vuelta: Stage 14 win for Wellens

Tim Wellens won a second stage on the roads of Vuelta 2020 after the day’s breakaway stuck and he beat Michael Woods and Zdenek Stybar to the finish line

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Vuelta: Stage 14 win for Wellens

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) claimed a second stage win on the roads of La Vuelta 2020 on Wednesday after a demanding day in Galicia. The Belgian puncheur, already winner of stage 5 in Sabiñanigo, featured in a very strong breakaway group that emerged after some 50km of battling to establish a breakaway. The uphill finish in Ourense saw him dominate big winners like Michael Woods and Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quick Step).

Photo: PhotoGomezSport

The GC contenders finished together, led in by Dan Martin and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) retained the leader’s jersey.

Before the start, many riders hinted this was a day for the breakaway and lots of them attacked from the gun, initiating a massive battle in the first two hours of racing. GC contenders such as Wout Poels (Bahrain-McLaren) and Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) featured in early moves. A group of 26 riders briefly rode away from the bunch at km 29 but the battle for the breakaway was ongoing after they covered 49.1km in the first hour of racing.

At that moment, Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Marc Soler (Movistar) rode away from the bunch with a 30″ lead. Thymen Arensman (Sunweb) and Pierre Luc Périchon (Cofidis) joined them at km 53 to form the breakaway of the day. Astana drove the bunch, Bora-Hansgrohe helping them, but the gap increased to a maximum of 5.30 at km 98.

The breakaway worked well together over the first categorised climbs of the day, the cat-3 Alto de Escairon (km 112.7) and Alto de Guitara (km 142.8), to maintain a gap of around 5 minutes. Astana and Bora gave up on the chase but Total Direct Energie took over with 60km to go and quickly brought the gap down with a very hard pace in the bunch.

The attackers’ lead was down to 2.05 at the bottom of the last categorised climb of the day, the Alto de Abelaira (cat-3). Michael Woods accelerated on the last 3km of the ascent. Only Pierre Luc Périchon was unable to bridge the gap to the Canadian climber. The peloton didn’t manage to reduce the gap on this climb and quickly gave up on the downhill.

Zdenek Stybar uped the ante on the downhill section with 14km to go. Mar Soler followed him and Tim Wellens quickly bridged the gap… But Michael Woods, Dylan van Baarle and Thymen Arensman got back just ahead of the final uphill kilometre, with an average gradient of 6%. Soler tried to anticipate the sprint but Wellens contained his move and Woods couldn’t match the Belgian’s acceleration.

The GC contenders finished together and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) retains the leader’s jersey.

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Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “It was not easy to win. There was a big fight to get in the breakaway and then all my companions were really strong riders. We rode a really good tempo for the whole day and then we went away with three riders on a downhill. I thought we’d stay in front but the others came back. Then I knew I had to be in the front position in the last corner. I felt Woods coming but the finish line was there and I crossed it first. The whole day, I had the impression Van Baarle was the best. But when we split up a little bit, I saw that Woods and Soler had really good legs. I was afraid of Woods for the uphill sprint but I did well, going first. We came with the team with the goal of a stage victory. The first one came and we had less pressure to go for a second one. I knew today suited me very well. It’s one thing to look forward to a stage but then it’s another to be in the right position. Today, everything was perfect.”

Dan Martin: “When that super strong break went, some teams tried to chase, but it was always going to be challenging to bring it back. I had a bit of fun in the end, and Reto did a perfect lead-out. It’s still very different when you don’t sprint for the win. I’m sure it would have been a lot more chaotic if the stage victory was up for grabs, but the best way to not lose time is to lead from the front, so I wanted to stay safe. It’s nice to get another top 10 for the team after the effort the guys put in keeping me safe and out of the wind all day. Another long day tomorrow. We are just staying focused on conserving as much energy as possible and we’ll see what happens.”

Guillaume Martin (Cofidis): “It started with many attacks like often in this Vuelta. I participated in these attacks. There was a lot of movement at the head of the peloton. Eventually, one of us [Pierre-Luc Périchon] made the winning breakaway. Unfortunately he dropped back a little bit at the end. It was a good day for a stage victory but we’ll try again for sure. We have three opportunities left.”

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “It was really fast, very difficult for all of us, but our guys did again a great job. We are all here to race. It was quite a fast and hard stage all the way to the finish line. For us it was okay but the guys that could go out in the breakaway had to be really strong guys, so it was a really strong group and it was almost impossible to catch them. It was again a good day for us. If there had been opportunity [to take time], definitely. But the breakaway was there and it was also for us a big sprint to come here to the top.”

1 Tim Wellens Lotto Soudal 04:37:05
2 Michael Woods EF Pro Cycling @ 00
3 Zdenek Stybar Deceuninck-Quick Step @ 00
4 Dylan Van Baarle INEOS Grenadiers @ 00
5 Marc Soler Movistar Team @ 11
6 Thymen Arensman Team Sunweb @ 13
7 Pierre-Luc Périchon Cofidis @ 03:11
8 Daniel Martin Israel Start-Up Nation @ 03:44
9 Gonzalo Serrano Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ 03:44
10 Primoz Roglic Leader jerseyPoint jersey Team Jumbo – Visma @ 03:44

16 Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers @ 03:44
20 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team @ 03:44
21 Hugh Carthy EF Pro Cycling @ 03:44
22 Enric Mas Movistar Team @ 03:44
26 Guillaume Martin Cofidis @ 03:44
76 Mark Donovan Team Sunweb @ 05:14
83 Chris Froome INEOS Grenadiers @ 05:37
101 Fred Wright Bahrain-McLaren @ 05:43
134 Scott Davies Bahrain-McLaren @ 11:27
144 Harry Tanfield AG2R La Mondiale @ 15:42

1 Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo – Visma 53:57:05
2 Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers @ 39
3 Hugh Carthy EF Pro Cycling @ 47
4 Daniel Martin Israel Start-Up Nation @ 01:42
5 Enric Mas Movistar Team @ 03:23
6 Wout Poels Bahrain-McLaren @ 06:15
7 Felix Großschartner Bora – Hansgrohe @ 07:14
8 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team @ 08:39
9 Aleksander Vlasov Astana Pro Team @ 08:48
10 David De La Cruz UAE Team Emirates @ 09:23

Full result: 

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