- - Vuelta a España 2023 Stage 16

Vuelta a España 2023 Stage 16

photo credits @ WTFK

Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) powered away from the field along the final climb to Bejes in stage 16 of the Vuelta a España today, crossing the finish some 40-seconds ahead of his closest rivals Finn Fisher-Black (UAE Team Emirates) and Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious).

Today’s win not only netted the Danish rider the stage victory, but moved him into second in the overall standings – ahead of his teammate Primož Roglič.

Vingegaard attacked 3.9km from the line with Fisher-Black being the first rider to respond, but the Australian was unable to hold the pace and stop the two-time Tour de France winner from taking his second stage win of this year’s race.

Meanwhile, teammates Roglič and Sepp Kuss let their leader go, while the Slovenian only launched his attack in the final kilometer to keep the gaps close, but this acceleration put the Kuss in difficulty with the American eventually rolling in 1:05 down on Vingegaard.

As a result, Kuss lost time to his two teammates but held onto the red jersey ahead of the huge GC test promised on tomorrow’s summit finish up the fabled Alto de l’Angliru with Roglič and Vingegaard still occupying the other podium spots, despite swapping positions.

Race Highlights

Earlier in the stage, the fight for the breakaway had been immense for the first hour and a half, with the average speed almost reaching 50km/h. An initial 10-man move went up the road and for a long time looked as though it would stick, but Ineos Grenadiers were determined not to miss out and spent the best part of 25km in pursuit.

As a result, the race reformulated with a little under 80km to ride, and the battle began once again. The next serious move to go would prove decisive, creating a six-rider breakaway that contained green jersey holder, Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck). However, their hopes were dampened when it soon became clear that Jumbo-Visma wanted to fight for the stage victory.

In turn, the gap to the breakaway was never allowed to rise above a minute and a half, resulting in the peloton battling it out for stage honors on the steep final climb in Bejes

With the race back together again at the head of proceedings, UAE Team Emirates, Movistar and Bora-Hansgrohe came to the fore, sensing that the GC riders would do battle on the final climb. With the final couple of kilometers averaging 10.4% and ramps pitching up to 17.1%, the race favorites would have to be well-positioned heading into the punchy finale.

Attila Valter led his Jumbo-Visma leaders onto the final test and the race was on, and it was Vingegaard who launched the first attack of the stage. Jumbo-Visma were playing the numbers game as they did on stage 13, forcing Sepp Kuss’ rivals onto the backfoot behind.

Fisher-Black mounted the most serious chase of Vingegaard, but the reigning Tour de France champion looked to have the same legs as he did on the Col du Tourmalet. Try as he might, Fisher-Black could not close the gap to the Dane and in the reduced peloton, the pace slowed.

Just as it had done on stage 13, the gap between Vingegaard and teammate and red jersey holder, Kuss, grew to over a minute. When Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) stole a march in pursuit, Kuss was right on his wheel. But the biggest surprise was yet to come, as Primož Roglič attacked from the group.

As Roglič was chasing down Vingegaard, he in turn was arguably attacking the race lead of Kuss. While this may have been Jumbo-Visma’s initial plan before the stage, what was not part of the plan was Kuss struggling to hold the pace inside the final kilometer. 

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