Vuelta 2020: Final Stage

The final stage of a Grand Tour, the Vuelta, being raced in November, saw Pascal Ackermann edge out Sam Bennett whilst Primoz Roglic got his Grand Tour win with Hugh Carthy’s epic ride netting him third place overall and Dan Martin 4th

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Vuelta 2020: Final Stage
Photos: PhotoGomezSport

The final stage of a Grand Tour, the Vuelta, being raced in November, saw Pascal Ackermann edge out Sam Bennett whilst Primoz Roglic got his Grand Tour win with Hugh Carthy’s epic ride netting him third place overall and Dan Martin 4th

The 2020 pandemic hit season of cycling ended this Sunday in Madrid with a fast and furious finish dominated by the German sprinters Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Sam Bennett with Ackermann claiming victory a handful of millimetres ahead of the Irishman Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step).

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) survived the day to claim the overall victory again, after he became in 2019 the first Slovenian rider to win a Grand Tour. The riders can now celebrate their achievements in a unique year of racing and prepare for the 2021 season.

The 142-man peloton took it easy as they rolled out from Hipodromo de La Zarzuela, en route to Madrid. After three weeks of tough battles through Spain, it was time for them to celebrate their accomplishments and the end of the season as they reached the capital city of Madrid. Primoz Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma teammates took a moment at the front of the bunch as the Slovenian star was about to clinch his second overall victory in La Vuelta, a year after he became the first rider from his country to win a Grand Tour.

The top three overall in the 2020 Vuelta – L-R: Richard Carapaz (2nd), Primoz Roglic (1st) and an excellent ride by Hugh Carthy (3rd)

The pace increased as the riders entered Madrid, with some 40km to go. From then, the action never stopped. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), one of the main protagonists of this edition with two stage wins already, attacked with Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Willie Smit (Burgos-BH). Lastra quickly dropped back to the peloton but his teammate Gonzalo Serrano, the only rider from Madrid participating in La Vuelta 20, joined the front group. Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana) also bridged the gap.

Jasper Philispen’s UAE Team Emirates, Sam Bennett’s Deceuninck-Quick Step and Pascal Ackermann’s Bora-Hansgrohe were the most active teams to control the gap to the leaders, keeping the gap under 30 seconds’. The attackers were reeled in just ahead of the final lap, with 6km to go. Bora-Hansgrohe lead the bunch into the final kilometre and Pascal Ackermann delivered, just, the prestigious stage win, claiming victory millimetres ahead of Sam Bennett. Primoz Roglic finished in the peloton to win La Vuelta 20.

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Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): Roglic won four stages during this Vuelta a España, including the individual time trial to Mirador de Ézaro. The points classification was also won by the Slovenian. Earlier this year, he won the Tour de l’Ain, a stage in the Tour de France where he was second and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Roglic is happy that he has won the Spanish stage race for the second time in his career. “Me and my teammates fought for it every day. We considered each stage as a one-day race. I am very proud of the performance that we all achieved. During the past three weeks I still felt in good shape. I am happy that I can end my season in this way. In the coming period I will take a break, but then I will make plans with the team for 2021. There are still a few goals I want to achieve in my career. That is an enormous motivation for me for the coming years.”

“The 2019 win was of course special, because I won my first grand tour then”, the Slovenian continued. “Nevertheless, I also rate this victory very highly, because it is part of the great season that I have had. We should be happy that, given the situation in the world, we were able to ride the Vuelta this year.”

“We were just enjoying. It was the last one to do and we did it. It’s beautiful to finish the season like this. I always say every victory is beautiful. It’s really hard to win. So it’s difficult to compare [with 2019]. I’m just super happy that I could win and to finish the season like this. I don’t know [if I’m the best Grand Tour rider]. For sure I was the best in this Vuelta. There are still races I didn’t win yet, more challenges, but first of all today we celebrate.It was a special year. I wish everyone a good health. Definitely I would like to thank the organisers. They made it happen, we could still race in November. The race was really well organised and I enjoyed every single day. I want to thank all the riders, specially my teammates. I also received a great support from home, from my family even if they’re not here at the moment. It’s really beautiful to win the red jersey and the green jersey to finish this year. See you next year.”

Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I wasn’t sure, I was asking Sam [Bennett] who won. I was really unsure and we had to wait after the finish and we got the message in the radio. We’re so happy about the victory today. I really have to say thank you to my teammates. Today was an amazing lead-out. I’m really happy to finish the season with a victory. It’s also my 13th victory of the season and I’m just so happy I can say thank you to my teammates. I still think I only won one stage, I’m not really counting the one where Sam was relegated. Now everyone has one victory and we can all be happy with that.”

Enric Mas (Movistar Team) (Young riders): “I feel good, specially after after such a strange year. La Vuelta finished in Madrid. The team did a great work and we’re very happy. If I’m honest, I wanted a better classification in the overall, but that’s the way it is. My next goal is to change the colour of this jersey and I hope we’ll go for it next year.”

Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) Mountains winner: “It was my first Vuelta. This whole season was very particular. It’s an important step in my career. It’s the first time I climbed on the podium of a Grand Tour and I hope to do it again.”

Hugh Carthy: “I am very happy, we are all very happy in the team, whether it is the riders, the sports directors, the mechanics, the physiotherapists …”, explained Hugh. Talking about the final stage, he said “It was quite tense most of the laps on the circuit but I was okay. We enjoyed a nice long parade to the circuit so you can could savour that and speak to people you had been screaming at or who’d been screaming at me for three weeks. It was a nice day.”

Asked if as a younger rider he expected to be a Grand Tour contender, Hugh replied “I think so. I knew I had it me. My family and friends and coaches knew I had it in me. It’s taken a while for it to come out but things happen when they happen. I think it has been worth the wait. I have no complaints, or regrets, and here I am.” Highlights? “The ‘Angliru and everything. The whole three week was a highlight”.

Going back to the post stage 17 interview the previous day, Hugh told ITV he was “very happy” with his performance. “I have proved to a lot of people the last few weeks the ability that I have got and the ability I always knew I had.” Talking about his GC rivals on stage 17, the final GC day in the race, he said “the wind played a big part in the race but I think it was fair and Carapaz was the strongest on the day and Roglic the strongest over the three weeks so it was a fair result and I don’t a 10k climb has changed the way the race would have been.”

Preparation for the race – “I knew I would be doing it three or four weeks ago but I didn’t really want to do it. I definitely didn’t expect this. I had the option not to do it a couple of weeks before I started but I said I’d go and support Danny and see what I could do, maybe a stage win, see how I feel. There was no pressure and here we are. At this point in my career after a year its been I can’t ask for more personally.”

Tejay van Garderen.: “I’ve believed in Hugh for a long time. I know this is just the tip of the iceberg for him and he’s going to win a lot more races. I hope to be able to help him in any way possible,” said van Garderen. “I’m thrilled we were able to make it to Madrid when the odds seemed stacked against us. It’s a good sign that cycling is in a healthy place,” said Tejay van Garderen. On top of that, he’s thrilled that the team rallied behind someone like Carthy. “Hugh is a unique person, and one of the most genuine human beings I’ve ever met. He doesn’t try to be anyone other than himself, and I love him for that,” he added.

Dan Martin: “I started off the day feeling good, but it was one of the most challenging races I’ve ever done. With the cold and rain and savage pace all day, it was just one stage too far for me. I emptied the tank and minimized our losses. We envisaged an attack for the podium, but in the end, the three guys in front were just better.

I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved these past three weeks. Israel Start-Up Nation signed me last year with the belief that I was capable of results like this, and it’s incredible for me to pay back that belief.

They gave me a team – built around me – in the Vuelta, and the guys did all they could for me for three weeks. It’s been one hell of a ride, and to get the best Grand Tour result of my career and a stage victory, we could not have imagined such results three weeks ago.  It’s a milestone for the team as we build into what will be an incredibly exciting year next year, where our ambitions as a team will be even greater.

Thank you to all the staff and riders and the Israel Start-Up Nation fans in Israel and the rest of the world for making this such an impressive three weeks.
It makes me hungry for more next year.”

Richard Carapaz (2nd overall) “For me it’s really special to be on the podium in Madrid. Especially after this year with the COVID situation and all we had to live with at home. I had a different approach to this race but it’s amazing to finish second at this Vuelta. I know I have a big potential and we will keep working with the team to seek another victory.

“I came to the Vuelta with the goal to do a great race and I think we have achieved it. I had the support and the aim to fight until the end. This podium means a lot to me, after 2019 Giro d’Italia I had to prove that my victory there wasn’t a coincidence and I think I did it. I’m here to fight for more Grand Tours.”

Max Kanter (3rd on stage): Today was the last stage of the Vuelta,” explained Kanter after taking his second podium finish of the race. “In the beginning everything was easy, every team took some pictures and we tried to relax a bit in the bunch. Towards the local laps it got a bit more nervous. The guys tried to protect me in the best way possible and everyone 100 percent committed to the sprint. I think we finished the Vuelta in a really good way today and we’re looking forward to next year.”

1. Pascal Ackermann Bora – Hansgrohe 03:28:13
2. Sam Bennett Deceuninck-Quick Step
3. Max Kanter Team Sunweb
4. Jasper Philipsen UAE Team Emirates
5. Jasha Sütterlin Team Sunweb
6. Emmanuel Morin Cofidis
7. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg NTT Pro Cycling Team
8. Lorrenzo Manzin Total Direct Energie
9. Robert Stannard Mitchelton-Scott
10. Jon Aberasturi Caja Rural-Seguros RGA

13. Fred Wright Bahrain-McLaren
32. Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers
39. Primoz Roglic  Team Jumbo – Visma
56. Daniel Martin Israel Start-Up Nation
83. Hugh Carthy EF Pro Cycling @ 28
88. Scott Davies Bahrain-McLaren @ 36
104. Chris Froome INEOS Grenadiers @ 36
122. Mark Donovan Team Sunweb @ 57

1. Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo – Visma 72:46:12 (+ Green jersey)
2. Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers @ 24
3. Hugh Carthy EF Pro Cycling @ 01:15

4. Daniel Martin Israel Start-Up Nation @ 02:43
5. Enric Mas Movistar Team @ 03:36 (best young rider)
6. Wout Poels Bahrain-McLaren @ 07:16
7. David De La Cruz UAE Team Emirates @ 07:35
8. David Gaudu Groupama-FDJ @ 07:45
9. Felix Großschartner Bora – Hansgrohe @ 08:15
10. Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team @ 09:34

14. Guillaume Martin Cofidis @ 15:07 (Mountains jersey)
48. Mark Donovan Team Sunweb @ 01:58:53
91. Fred Wright Bahrain-McLaren @ 03:27:20
98. Chris Froome INEOS Grenadiers @ 03:32:14
111. Scott Davies Bahrain-McLaren @ 03:52:18

Full Result Here

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