Roglic turns red

Cort Nielsen finished his escape victoriously on the Cullera Mountain wall, with the Slovenian's breath on his neck. Landa gave up 27 "and Carthy dropped 2:50.


If Magnus Cort Nielsen had a hand on the routes, he would surely choose to always start from Requena. He's good at it. The 18th stage of the Spanish round set off from there in 2016, heading to Gandía, which introduced the Danish to high society with a sprint victory. Then he repeated in Madrid. And last year, in Ciudad Rodrigo. La Vuelta also likes it. Five editions later, Requena again gave the starting flag this Thursday, but with a very different closing in the Alto Montaña de Cullera, one of those 'made in Vuelta' finishes, a short and explosive climb of 1.9 kilometers to 9 , 4% average slope. The EF Education cyclist changed his strategy, went on the run, and managed to finish against the forecast, with his breath on the neck of Primoz Roglic, who is wearing red again.

The goal was conducive to a mixed fight. On the one hand, the roosters of the corral, those who fight for the general, cyclists from the Roglic court and Richard Carapaz, who have already demonstrated solvency in these walls. On the other, the so-called 'uphill finishers', runners like Michael Matthews, Alex Aranburu and Alejandro Valverde in their young days. Magnus Cort, originally a sprinter, also fits into that profile, but preferred to deal with the stage in a different way, more risky, within a getaway. At the foot of the port he arrived with 20 seconds that seemed scarce. The push from the bosses heralded another end. Carapaz, launched by Jhonatan Narváez, made the first attempt. Then there were alternatives from Superman López, Matthews, Vlasov ... And from Roglic himself, who gave the final blow to enter the wheel of the heroic Dane.

In the same adventure there were, as usual in the last five stages, a cyclist from Euskaltel and another from Burgos-BH: Joan Bou and Jetse Bol, both repeaters in these events. Joining them were Bert Jan Lindeman and Ryan Gibbons, with such harmony that the quintet reached seven minutes, an advantage that allowed them to dream of victory. Especially to Bou, who ran through his Valencian lands, cheered by his countrymen. Bou attacked the first in the port and the first also took down. At least he gave himself that pleasure. Only Cort Nielsen had legs to rivet.

The BikeExchange disagreed with the attitude of the squad, which loosed the escapees, and ordered their laborers to reduce the distance. It was a good day for Matthews, sixth at the end. The intensive work paid off, because the difference was reduced to three minutes, although it fell overboard when Sasha Modolo appeared in the first places and knocked Andrey Zeits down. After the incident, the Australian team broke ranks and gave up their heads. It was a tense moment, with a threatening wind that warned of possible fans. The danger was breathed throughout the route, with constant falls: Valverde, Amezqueta, Ludvigsson, Rodríguez ...

The race was left without a pattern for a handful of kilometers, just until the wind blew hard again and the peloton, driven by Ineos, with a very active Egan Bernal, led the group until breaking it into several pieces. There were no victims of big game, except for the leader Kenny Elissonde, a frequent cyclist who suffers in these battles. His thing is to fly through the mountains. With no more prey to throw into the backpack, the regrouping was not long in coming. For now A new arreón, now caused by Movistar, exposed Hugh Carthy, who suffered a lot to re-link, so broken that he later gave up 2:50 minutes at the top. The third of the last Vuelta thus says goodbye to the classification.

Mikel Landa also lost time, much less, who dropped 27 seconds and moves away at 1:12 in the general classification. It is still in the bidding. The wall was too explosive for him. This Friday, in the Balcón de Alicante, 9.4 km at 6.2%, he will face another type of climb and we will have more information about the future of the Basque. There is no rest.

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