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14/09/19 - 11:11
Arenas de San Pedro - Plataforma de Gredos
Vuelta a España • Stage20

Arenas de San Pedro - Plataforma de Gredos
Vuelta a España - 14 September 2019

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Here's conformation of Roglic's Vuelta victory and Pogacar's spot on the podium.


So, Valverde will finish second in this Vuelta either side of the two Slovenians, with Quintana dropping off the podium and Lopez losing the white jersey.


It's the world champion Valverde who beats Rafal Majka and Herman Pernsteiner for second place around 1'45" down, while Roglic sits up and rides over in the knowledge that he has won the Vuelta.


Valverde leading the chase to protect his second place on GC.


The clock ticks away but Pogacar's fellow Slovenian will win this Vuelta now...


A third victory for the youngest rider of the race, Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates!


Another Slovenian stage win - and the overall for Roglic too...


Under the flamme rouge goes Pogacar, who is riding incredibly. He's 1'38" ahead of the chasing quartet of Valverde, Majka, Roglic and Pernsteiner. And another 20 seconds clear of the Lopez-Quintana group, so he will go back into white and onto the podium today.


Lopez back with Nieve, Kelderman, Quintana and some others in a chase group while Roglic, Valverde and Majka ride clear.


Still 1’35 for Pogacar. Behind, it’s all splintered with Pernsteiner putting in a series of attacks. Lopez has been dropped.


Pernsteiner opens up a small gap, covered by Grossschartner of Bora, for his teammate Majka.


Lopez, Valverde, Roglic and Quintana - in that order - until Movistar’s Colombian accelerates and comes to the front. Majka nips in ahead of Roglic, too. This group is still large with the likes of TGH, Hagen, Higuita, Kelderman and Pernsteiner in the mix.


In any case, it's now Soler on the front with Quintana, Lopez and Valverde behind. This red jersey group is thinning out.


The helicopter showed an attack from the chasing group - perhaps from Lopez - but there are no camers on ground level for the moment for some reason...


Still 1'35" for Pogacar.


We're onto the final climb of the day, the Cat.3 Plataforma de Gredos (9.4km at 3.8%). Our Slovenian man in front has 1'40".


We have just 10 competitive kilometres left of this Vuelta a Espana - and lone leader Tadej Pogacar is on a short downhill to the foot of the final climb.


Every little helps: Pogacar wins the intermediate sprint at Hoyos del Espino and pockets three bonus seconds ahead of the final climb. He then takes on a can of coke from a UAE soigneur, which he downs in a couple of swigs.


It's getting serious: Pog's lead is up to 1'45" and he could well knock one of the Movistar riders off the podium and snare Lopez's white jersey.


Video - Inside Bora: ‘We’re all exhausted!’


Fuglsang comes to the front and starts to push on for Astana. Soler has gone, leaving it to Pedrero to chase. Some splits happening in the chase group now. Still Pogacar has the gap.


Still Movistar lead the chase - but Pogacar currently enjoys the biggest gap he's had: 1'42".


The riders in this main group are: Valverde, Pedrero, Quintana, Soler, Lopez, Pernsteiner, Teuns, Majka, Grossschartner, Higuita, Hagen, Howsen, Nieve, Geoghegan Hart, Roglic, Guerreiro, Kelderman, Power and Edet.


Pogacar enters the final 20km of today's stage with a 1'35" gap over the Movitar-led red jersey chase group. The final climb is in 10km time and it's 9.4km long. It's now or never for the all the big GC favourites.


It's a shoddy surface along these narrow roads - potholes, puddles, broken barriers and the like. The gap hasn't grown, but neither has it come down for the Slovenian tyro.


Pog still has 1'35" as he nears the foot of this descent. Imagine the damage he could have done to this race had he had a team behind him.


The red jersey group pick up Geoghegan Hart and Guerreiro just ahead of the summit. The gap has grown to 1'37".


Over the top of the climb goes Tadej Pogacar - and he has 1'30" on the red jersey group.


It's blowing a gale up here near the summit. And Pogacar is moving onto the virtual podium in his maiden Grand Tour with this attack...


Pogacar has 45 seconds on the chasing duo and 1'10" on the Movistar-led chase group. He's riding like a man possessed - but there's still a long way to go in this stage, with a 2km of this climb, the descent, some rolling roads and then the final Cat.3 climb to the line.


Replays show that, in that earlier attack, Valverde looked over his shoulder and then gesticilated wildly - as if Quintana was meant to come with him. In any case, Movistar now have four or five on the front leading the chase.


Geoghegan Hart and then Guerreiro fade as Pogacar soloes clear. What a ride this could be for the Slovenian's third stage win.


Pogacar has bridged over to Geoghegan Hart and Guerreiro.


Valverde attacks! No one goes with him but Bora close it down through Grossschartner and Majka. Odd one, that. The world champion looked to sit up after looking over his shoulder.


Marc Soler is also there for Movistar, who have, of course, Quintana and Valverde. Sunweb come to the front through Power and Kelderman - and then Pogacar, in green, puts in an attack! The young Slovenian rides clear and no one covers it. Lopez, who leads him by just 32 seconds on GC, must have used up all his zip in those attacks earlier.


Once again, the strongest five riders come to the fore. But after another lull, the others join them to make a 13-man group. They're 30 seconds down on the two leaders. Majka, Grossschartner, Higuita, Hagen, Kelderman, Power and the remnants of the break are in this main pack.


Reinforcements to the red jersey group as the Majka chase group bridges over. Fuglsang is there and he puts in a huge shift on the front for Lopez.


The two leaders, Geoghegan Hart and Guerreiro, have 33 seconds on the others from the break and 57 on the red jersey group.


Lopez has Roglic, Quintana, Valverde and Pogacar on his wheel. Then Majka follows on the front of a chase group a little behind.


ATTACK: After some softeners from Fuglsang and Ion Izagirre, Lopez attacks! It's show time...


Talking of stage 15, the winner that day, Sepp Kuss, has been distanced. So, Roglic is down to one teammate now. Pogacar is also isolated. There are about 20 riders in this Astana-driven pack, but that will soon be just 10.


It will be interesting to see how these two combine - if they indeed combine at all. They're old teammates from the Axeon Hagens Berman continental team, but there was no love lost between them back in stage 15.


Perhaps they're reading my comments? Geoghegan Hart attacks and takes Guerreiro with him.


The gap for the five leaders is 1'45" so it's really tumbled down. Howson's no climber and he's setting the pace, which sums it up. If Geoghegan Hart and Guerreiro don't do something soon, then it'll be curtains for their chances.


Onto the next climb - probably the biggest test of the day, the Cat.1 Puerto de Pena Negra (14.2km at 5.9%). It's a steady climb which peaks at 8% but could do some damage with so many weary legs out there - especially at the pace Astana are attacking it.


The five leaders enter the final 50km of the race with the gap down to 2'35" thanks to the pace of the Astana train behind, which has reduced the pack to about 40 riders.


There's a group of 10 or so riders off the back of the pack - including Gesink - who were dropped on the descent. The Dutchman is fighting to get back in to help out his teammates, but he came down in that crash yesterday and appears to be suffering from cramps, fatigue and general niggles.


The race is passing through the town of Villafranca, negotiating the narrow streets at breakneck speed. Astana are still at the head of the pack with Fraile pushing on. The gap for the five leaders is 3'15" as they continue their way to the foot of the main mountain test of the day.


Guerreiro is on the back of the break on this descent, which plays out on very narrow, twisting roads. I'm eager to see him renew his hostilities with Geoghegan Hart on the final climbs - although it's no given they'll stay out till the decisive ascent: Astana's upping of the tempo has slashed the gap by a minute. It's down to 3'35".


Edet pips Samitier atop the climb to upset the apple card a little: could that be the beginning of the end of the breakaway? Over they go with a four-minute lead over the pack, which is still being driven by six Astana riders. Roglic still has Kuss, Bennett and Gesink, although the latter is starting to drop back...


Astana have now come to the front to up the tempo a little. Movistar are attentive too, with Jumbo on red alert.


The break is onto the Cat.3 Puerto de Chia (3km at 4%) with a lead of 4'20". Samitier, 24, is the only one of these five leaders who has yet to pick up a pro win. He's riding his first Grand Tour for Euskadi-Murias.


It's dark and bleak out there, although Sean Kelly has just noticed that "the cows are standing," so perhaps it's on the turn?


A reminder of our five leaders: Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos), Damien Howson (Mitchelton-Scott), Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha Alpecin), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Sergio Samitier (Euskadi-Murias). They're over a not-inconsiderable uncategorised climb and will now tackle a zippy descent to the foot of the next uphill test. 4'10" for the break.


Still Jumbo-Visma ride on the front of the pack with Movistar and Astana just behind. What this stage needs now is a crash to spark a bit of movement from Movistar...


The gap continues to grow. It's 4'10" now. I'm still coming to terms with Deceuninck-QuickStep's performance yesterday... The other day, they placed four riders in the top 10 of the stage won by Gilbert, with Cavagna third, Declercq eighth and Knox tenth, after Stybar put in an attack with 2.5km remaining. Well, yesterday they had three in the top four: Cavagna winning, Gilbert in third and Stybar fourth. Quite sensational.


I spoke too soon! It's now raining gatos y perros out there. Still the break's lead is up to 4'55" and it's looking good for Tao Geoghegan Hart - although he's up there with his nemesis Ruben Guerreiro. The pair had been the day TGH finished third behind the Portuguese when Sepp Kuss took the spoils.


Lennard Hofstede is putting in a good shift on the front of the pack for Jumbo-Visma. The break, 3'30" up the road, has passed through the feed zone. After such a frantic opening hour, the second hour has been a far more sedate affair. It looks like the rain has stopped for now. Edet has picked up a new bidon while Geoghegan Hart continues to drive the pace.


Miguel Angel Lopez has come to the back of the peloton - perhaps to pick up a rain cape. It's all strung out with Jumbo-Visma still at the head. The gap is 3'25" now for the five-man move.


The heavens have opened again! The leaders have a gap of 3'15" and this could play into their hands. They're onto a downhill section before the road rises on two uncategorised climbs before the fourth test of the day.


Calm before the storm: Valverde drops back to his Movistar car to pick something up. He's with two teammates and no one thinks of attacking, like they did yesterday, "unintentionally", after that big crash split the pack. The gap is now 2'45".


The Ineos rider makes the connection so we have five out ahead now with a gap of 2'20".


Geoghegan Hart is closing in on the leaders, making hay while the sun shines. The roads are wet but it's not raining at the moment.


The was a cunning move by the Briton who spotted a lull in proceedings and went for it. He's now 1'05" down on the leaders but 50 seconds clear of the pack. Jumbo lead with six riders, with Movistar and Astana tucked in behind. As for Pogacar, he only really has Valerio Conti with him, so he's having to do it on his own. Although next year UAE Team Emirates will have the likes of Joe Dombrowski and Davide Formolo in the squad, albeit will lose Dan Martin to Israel Cycling Academy.


Attack from Tao Geoghegan Hart! Another move from the Ineos youngster, who has finished third and second in this year's race, but not yet first. Jumbo-Visma consider following, but then let him go - but this sparks a response from some other riders, including Latour, I think from Ag2R-La Mondiale.


Not really a descent to speak of: after the summit the race has hit a plateau which, after a small downhill sweep, will be a false flat which steadily rises - via a couple of uncategorised climbs - to the foot of the next test. The gap is 1'25" now for the four leaders. It's stopped raining but there are numerous grey clouds looming on the horizon.


School of hard Knox: the bandaged Briton is back with the pack. He has four QuickStep riders with him, including Philippe Gilbert, his room-mate, who helps him get his jacket off and then takes it for him. Classy from the Belgian veteran double stage winner, who is off to Lotto Soudal next year.


Five Jumbo riders on the front now with Gesink at the helm. The gap is up to one minute for the break. And it's Samitier who makes it three from three over the top ahead of Guerreiro, Howson and Edet.


Henao is the latest escapee to be caught by the Jumbo-led pack. They have four riders on the front, including Roglic. The gap is 48 seconds for the remaining four leaders. 1km to the summit.


If Roglic looks assured of the red jersey then there's still a big battle between Valverde, Quintana, Lopez and Pogacar for the two remaining spots on the podium. They are separated by less than two minutes.


Ruben Guerreiro leads the race with Edet, Samitier and Howson closing in as they enter the mist that clads the top of this climb. Meanwhile, James Knox is losing contact of the red jersey group. He crashed badly yesterday and said he wasn't confident of finishing today. If he does finish, he'll hope to retain the eight or nine minutes he has that will keep him in the top 10 in Madrid. He has a number of QuickStep teammates with him.


The climb has actually only just started, officially, even if it's been going uphill for a few kilometres now. Seven or eight riders have a small gap over the Jumbo-led pack now in pursuit of the leaders, who have already dropped Craddock, the latest arrival, who couldn't keep up. Morabito and Padun will be next.


Alex Aranburu of Caja Rural has attacked. He is joining Astana next year. Ben King also attacks from Dimension Data - they're attacking from a red jersey main pack that has been whittled down to about 50 riders.


This stage is still not settling. The break only has 25 seconds as they tackle this climb, which has the poorest road surface I've ever seen in a Grand Tours. First it was concrete slabs, now its coarse asphalt the looks like it was laid yesterday. It probably was.


Craddock joines the leaders before they hit the third climb of the day, the Cat.2 Alto de Navatalgordo (3km at 7.2%).


The Latour-Madrazo move was pulled in - but Ventoso has gone again on the next section of the descent. The Spanish veteran clearly thinks that his best way of surviving the gruppetto today is to get ahead while he can.


Fran Ventoso has joined the Madrazo group - but behind it's kicking off again. They're on a small uphill rise that breaks up this descent.


Samitier has 15 seconds on the other six escapees, who have in turn almost been caught by Craddock. Then we have three riders trying to bridge over: Pierre Latour, Nikias Arndt and Angel Madrazo. The pack are 1'15" down.


Sergio Samitier has gone clear on the descent! Brave...


Samitier doubles up: the Basque rider leads the break over the summit of the second climb to pocket the 5pts. Craddock follows about 35 seconds down, followed by the Movistar-led pack at 55". Right, time to descend...


Lawson Craddock has managed to go clear of the pack so EF Education First might restore their quota in the break after Docker's distancing.


The weather is grim out there... and it's only going to get worse, with thunderstorms forecast this afternoon.


We have 4km remaining of this, the second of six climbs. The break's lead is 52". The attacks are coming thick and fast quite simply because Movistar and Astana need to isolate Roglic if they want any chance of taking his red jersey today. The Slovenian has 2'50" on Valverde and 3'31" on Quintana on GC, with Lopez 4'17" down and compatriot Pogacar 4'49" down.


With the break's lead less than a minute, the cars are being called out - and the peloton has split again under the constant pressure on the front.


The leaders are: Guerreiro, Edet, Henao, Howson, Morabito, Padun and Samitier, with Docker dropped. It looks like Pernsteiner, Latour and Madrazo have been caught by the pack, where there is a lot of activity - more battles and most attacks from Astana.


It was Samitier who took the points, by the way, over the last climb, ahead of Henao, Howson, Morabito and Padun.


Mitch Docker has been dropped by the leading group.


Well, that didn't take long: the descent was only a few kilometres and already the road is going back uphill on the next climb, the Cat.2 Puerto de Serranillos (9km at 4.8%).


An Ineos rider catches the Madrazo group - and behind, there's another Astana acceleration ahead of the summit. An hour of racing done. And now we have a narrow, twisting descent through wet roads through pine trees. What could go wrong?!


And it won't be: the break goes over the top of the climb well over a minute ahead of Madrazo, the Ag2R-La Mondiale rider (Latour, I think) and Pernsteiner, who was still dangling out the front after an earlier attack. So, Bouchard, as long as he makes it to Madrid, will win the polka dots in his debut Grand Tour for Ag2R-La Mondiale.


Angel Madrazo attacks! One last dig for the Spaniard. He trails Bouchard by 32pts and there are 36pts available today, so it's the longest shot of long shots. Not only will he have to catch the break, he'll need maximum points over pretty much all the climbs - and now he has an Ag2R-La Mondiale rider on his case.


The nine leaders have 1'30" on the pack. Astana won't give up - they keep on throwing down the hammer. The latest rider to have a dig is Ion Izagirre, who has Marc Soler of Movistar on his wheel, and then Kuss for Jumbo. But because the gradient isn't too bad, the peloton manages to follow - albeit in stretched out fashion. A couple of clicks to go till the summit...


A quick reminder of who leads each of the jersey classifications: Roglic leads both GC (red) and the points (green), Geoffrey Bouchard is in polka dots after taking it from Angel Madrazo a few days ago, and Miguel Angel Lopez is in white - by just 32 seconds over Tadej Pogacar.


David de la Cruz attacks again for Ineos, with Gorka Izagirre on his wheel for Astana. Then we have yet another attack from Astana, this time from Dario Cataldo, which is covered by numerous riders, including Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida). It's so active out there. AND NOW IT'S STARTED TO RAIN!


Gesink now leading the pack with Valverde right on his wheel. Some calm from the veteran Dutchman. The break still has 1'45".


Back to the race, and we had a move from Ion Izagirre of Astana which was chased down by Sepp Kuss of Jumbo, who is now setting the tempo on the front of the streamlined pack. That followed an earlier attack from Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FdJ), who was joined by Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and then covered by George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma). We're spotting a theme here with Astana attacking and Jumbo covering.


Lopez then back-tracked last night on social media: "More than one will not follow what happened at the Vuelta. I'm sorry... It was said in the heat of the moment in the race and with the pain of the crash. All my most sincere apologies to Alejandro Valverde and Movistar Team." And here's a photo of Lopez looking as if being admonished by his school teacher at the start...


After Movistar attacked yesterday following that crash which hit Jumbo-Visma and Astana badly, the Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez was quite vocal about the situation and took a dig at rival Alejandro Valverde: "It's always the same stupid people who do this. Maybe one day they'll win a race launching a straight attack. These really stupid actions are what the world champion's team does - that's what we're dealing with. What a world champion we have!"


Still 10km of this climb to go - the first of six categorised climbs today. The chase group is quite large now and includes TGH, Sanchez, Fraile, De la Cruz and Martinez. They have swept up the likes of Mosca and Smit, but the gap to the pack is only a matter of seconds. There are riders everywhere, in fairness.


Van der Sande is the latest rider from the break to lose touch. Nine men now up front. They know they need to keep pressing on because their lead is less than two minutes now. Back with the pack, Dani Martinez is the latest to attack for EF Education First.


Dlamini has been dropped by the break. Mosca has already gone and rides with Smit a minute or so back. Cubero hasn't been able to bridge over and he'll be caught soon by Fraile and Geoghegan Hart, who have a small gap on the red jersey pack.


Omar Fraile attacks for Astana! The Spaniard opens up a gap - and has Tao Geoghegan Hart in pursuit.


Luis Leon Sanchez is the Astana rider who sparked that move, which was followed by David de la Cruz of Ineos. Nelson Powless of Jumbo was one of the two teammates of Roglic who got involved. He's off to EF Education First next season. The move looks to have been neutralised - at a cost of half the peloton!


ATTACKS: The ceasefire didn't last long! Astana, Movistar and Ineos have put in some digs on the climb. Jumbo-Visma have it covered and manage to put two riders with them - but the whole peloton has blown apart because of that, it's strung out with many, many different groups on the road.


Smit has successfully managed to get his teammate Guerreiro into the break and seems to have now dropped back. Edet is also up there with Mosca.


Talking of Smit, the South African has dropped back to help pace his teammate Guerreiro into the break. The peloton are now over three minutes back.


We're onto the Cat.1 Puerto de Pedro Bernardo (18.4km at 4.4%). There are no big gradients on this - but it's a long test and the legs are tired. Especially Willie Smit's: he has 16 stitches in his left knee...


Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha Alpecin), Jacopo Mosca (Trek-Segafredo) and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) are trying to bridge over, with Jorge Cubero (Burgos-BH) a bit further back. And it seems like the peloton has sat up - so perhaps this move (these moves) will stick. They're approaching the first climb.


Right, we have a break on! 10 riders have a gap. They are: Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida), Mitch Docker (EF Education First), Steve Morabito (Groupama-FDJ), Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Damien Howson (Mitchelton-Scott), Nic Dlamini (Dimension Data), Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates), Will Smit (Katusha Alpecin), Mikel Iturria and Sergio Samitier (Euskadi-Murias).


Around 10 riders clear now including Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates), Damien Howson (Mitchelton-Scott) and Mitch Docker (EF Education First). But the gap is small...


Two Euskadi-Murias riders now in the front after some sustained pressure from Katusha-Alpecin and Nic Dlamini (Dimension Data). It's a fierce battle to make it into the break today on what will be the last chance for all riders besides the sprinters to get a win.


Next up we have a move from the indefatigable Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step), yesterday's winner, who goes clear after 5km.


Ben King (Dimension Data) is the first to attack but it comes to nothing.


They're off! The remaining 153 riders get this 20th stage under way.


One non-starter today: Jean-Pierre Drucker (Bora-Hansgrohe), who finished last yesterday. He joins Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates) and Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) who withdrew following that nasty crash yesterday.


Here's what's in store today - a whopping total of 4,500m of climbing...

La Vuelta a Espana 2019, stage 20 profile

And more on a controversial day with out highlights package...

Video - Highlights: Fury as stricken Roglic attacked by Movistar, Cavagna triumphs


Hola amigos! Welcome to live coverage of Stage 20 of La Vuelta - and it's the big deciding mountain test, a 190.4km schlep from Arenas de San Petro to Plataforma de Gredos.