Old Taaramäe doubles prize

The 34-year-old Estonian, who already won at La Farrapona in 2011, debuted the summit of Picón Blanco with victory and snatched the red jersey from Roglic for 30 seconds.

The peloton of La Vuelta 2021 offered two races in one on Monday. For the same price. On the one hand, the break, for the stage victory. Rein Taaramäe took her. On the other, the fight of the roosters, for the final victory. There were no winners here, although there was one loser: Richard Carapaz. Both races were then intertwined in the general classification, which is now led by the Estonian from Wanty with 25 seconds over Kenny Elissonde and 30 over the pattern of the round, Primoz Roglic, who had no problem giving up the garment, quite the opposite. The Slovenian, surely, would have liked to waste more time, to distribute responsibility and dose efforts.

The first race was decided on a spoiled escape of eight runners, in which the three invited teams once again showed their loyalty and gratitude: Caja Rural, with Julen Amezqueta from Navarra; the Euskaltel, with the Murcian Antonio Jesús Soto, and the Burgos-BH, the home squad, with the Dutch Jetse Bol. This time they did not ride alone, with them four cyclists with victories in some great lap: Lilian Calmejane, Kenny Elissonde, Rein Taaramäe and Joe Dombrowski. The group was completed by the young Tobias Mayer, 21 years old, fifth classified a few days ago in a similar stage of the Vuelta a Burgos. A motley adventure.

The jackpot was pocketed by the oldest of the place, Rein Taaramäe, a 34-year-old cyclist who already sported a renowned triumph in his record, La Farrapona in 2011, as well as another in the Giro d'Italia in 2016. The Estonian, a A good finisher in this type of guerrilla warfare, he held out the pulse of other hunters while waiting for their chance. Calmejane, winner in La Vuelta and in the Tour, started from a distance, before the climb, but did not open a gap. Then he tried Elissonde, winner in the Angliru in 2013. And already on the hardest ramps, four kilometers away, more or less at the height of the AS Diario Oficial banners, where the public remembered the beauty of cycling with fans in the gutters, Dombrowski, this year's winner at the Giro, squeezed with a sustained attack. Taaramäe resisted all the arreons, but no one resisted his. Old Fox.

The second race, the one that looks to the final podium, was fought only in Picón Blanco, an unprecedented climb in the Spanish round, but well known in the Vuelta a Burgos, where it links five editions with highly prestigious winners: Mikel Landa, in 2017; Miguel Ángel López, in 2018; Iván Ramiro Sosa, in 2019; Remco Evenepoel, in 2020; and Romain Bardet, just over a week ago, although in this case it ended after a descent to Espinosa de los Monteros. Three of those protagonists are in the battle for La Vuelta.

The ascent to Picón Blanco produced few attacks, the most notable being that of David de la Cruz, seeking to cut the time lost in the fall of the previous day. Rather, it was a rise in wear, due to the hardness accumulated by the mileage, above 200, due to the heat and that head wind that prevented progress in the starts. The selection was made naturally. And there were two symptoms for the future. Roglic soon ran out of teammates, he does not seem to bring a Jumbo as powerful as other times, and Carapaz, his challenger last year, was left behind the group of favorites and moves away to 2: 15.

The Movistar took the reins in the last part, with Alejandro Valverde in the first person. An acceleration that could have saved the leadership of Roglic himself. Maybe that's why he did it. Or to scratch as long as possible other lagging rivals, such as Alexander Vlasov and Romain Bardet. Or to pave the way for an attack by Enric Mas that did occur, with a minimum harvest of three seconds, but good returns for morale. The Spaniard has placed fifth, 45 seconds behind the new leader, and second among the contenders, 15 ”behind Roglic. The red jersey was donned by Taaramäe, double prize. There where the two races intertwined. In the general classification.

Photos from as.com
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