The pride of champions: Ecuadorian climber Richard Carapaz won the fourteenth stage alone at the top of the Pandera on Saturday in Andalusia, while Primoz Roglic regained almost a minute in the general classification on a diminished Remco Evenepoel.
In a soporific stage that ended in fireworks, the Olympic champion resisted the return of Primoz Roglic and Miguel Angel Lopez, maintaining an eight-second lead over the finish line.
“In the final, we knew it was going to be a difficult and important stage. We wanted to repeat what we had done the last time (on the 12th stage). I had studied the climb well. It gives me a lot of confidence for the future”, celebrated the Ecuadorian after the race.
It must be said that the role of stage hunter suits him like a glove: the only survivor of the breakaway of ten riders, Carapaz held on to win his second stage on the 2022 Spanish loop, two days after his tour de force at the top. of the Penas Blancas.
His acceleration at the train eight kilometers from the summit nailed the rest of the group to the front, including Frenchman Clément Champoussin (AG2R) then veteran Luis Leon Sanchez (Bahrain).
Stripped of his role as leader of the Ineos formation after having conceded almost twenty minutes in the general after eleven stages, Carapaz consoles himself with a new prestigious victory in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
– Evenepoel in the red –
If he dropped his racing gloves for this weekend, Remco Evenepoel for his part seemed very alone in the final ascent.
Deprived of his luxury teammate Julian Alaphilippe since Wednesday and victim of a fall “without consequences” according to him Thursday in a descent, the 22-year-old Belgian was unable to follow the attack carried by “Rogla” at four kilometers from the finish, in the 12% portions of the first category pass perched at nearly 2000 meters above sea level.
“Today (Saturday, editor’s note), I didn’t have my best legs. I couldn’t accelerate when Roglic left. Afterwards, I still have a lead overall, there is no worry to have. I hope it will be my worst day in these three weeks”, tried to play down Evenepoel at the end of the stage.
The train led by his teammate Ilan van Wilder at the foot of the pass did not prevent Primoz Roglic, Miguel Angel Lopez or Enric Mas from winning him four kilometers from the finish.
Eight days after wearing the red jersey, the leader of the Quick-Step formation conceded 48 seconds overall to his runner-up Primoz Roglic (Jumbo) and twenty seconds to Enric Mas (Movistar).
“It’s a great day for us. I feel better, we’re going to race now,” warned the leader of the Dutch formation on Saturday as a warning for the future.
Because “The little cannibal” only has a 1 minute and 49 seconds lead over the three-time Slovenian title holder and 2 minutes and 43 seconds over the Spaniard.
Sunday, Evenepoel is expected at the turn as the peloton faces the queen stage of the 2022 edition of the Vuelta with the arrival at the terrible summit of Hoya de la Mora with 19.3 kilometers of ascent at 7.9 % of average and 2500 meters of altitude: just that.