Remi Cavgna wins the stage! Sam Bennett takes second and I think Stybar was third.
Ávila - Toledo
Vuelta a España - 13 September 2019
Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 12:34 on 13 September 2019. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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And now he's over the bridge!
No sign of the pursuers. He's gonna do it.
He's gritting his teeth as he comes through the hoardings. He's under the bridge.
Cavagna is battling up the final slopes, he turns back on himself and hits the cobbles.
CCC hit the front of the peloton now with Di Data also present.
The peloton is being pulled by Bora Hansgrohe but it's ragged!
Cavagna negotiates a sequence of sweeping downhill bends and he's onto the bridge into Toledo old town. He still has 29 seconds.
Remember the final kilometre is all uphill so Cavagna will need a gap over the puncheurs if he is to take victory.
29 seconds for Cavagna. He's steadied himself after dropping a chunk of time.
Time gap is dwindling to Cavagna now. Has he popped?
Cavagna is killing this as the breakaway realise their mistake. They have jumped into life, but it must be too late for them.
Pretty soon Cavagna will enter the twisty-turny streets of Toledo's medieval centre.
53 seconds for Remi Cavagna!
Cavagna looks like he might do this!
Here we go, final 10km for Cavagna. He still has a minute on the peloton.
Cavagna just showing the first signs of flagging now. He's moving about on his bike, at the expense of his flat, aero time triallist's position.
1'17" for Cavagna! The peloton are closing the gap to him, but the break aren't making any inroads. They look to be leaning heavily on Grawson Craddock.
When Fabio Jakobsen won stage 4 in El Puig he was set up by a very similar solo attack by Cavagna. Having the Frenchman up the road meant the whole team could conserve energy while others chased him down. Is that the plan here again, but for the likes of Stybar or Gilbert?
Deceuninck have proven themselves to be the masters of this sort of multi-dimensional racing.
The peloton is 1'30" down on Cavagna, with the chasers from the break 20 seconds behind the Deceuninck man.
Can he hold on?
Love this for a nickname...
Cavagna has 15 seconds on the chasers, now and 22km between him and glory.
Remi Cavagna attacks the break! We've seen this move from the Frenchman before.
The other riders in the escape don't seem to fancy chasing him either.
It's terribly messy out here. The Valverde group that broke free is back in the peloton now, but riders keep clipping off the front to try and force something. There's really no organisation to speak of and with Roglic short on team mates, nobody seems minded to set the pace.
A group with Valverde, Lopez and Pogacar have forced another gap in these crosswinds. They've only got a few bike lengths, but it's more stress for Roglic who has missed the move.
Castilla-La Mancha's castillo game has been pretty poor generally today, but here's a particularly bad example.
The breakaway is just starting to fracture a bit now. Grawson Craddock strikes out, setting a fast tempo, and his eight remaining companions struggle to stay with him.
Powless is also in the group with Roglic now.
The gap is 1'40".
Roglic still only has Hofstede with him. He's quite isolated.
Gap goes up again to near two minutes after that easing of the hostilities.
All quiet in the GC group again now.
Tony Martin abandons.
The German must have come off the worst in that crash. He'd had a tough Vuelta this year already and that may just have been the last straw.
Domen Novak has dropped out of the breakaway.
And now Movistar relent. They have knocked off the pace to allow the groups to come back together. That's just bike racing, they'll say, but there's no way they didn't know right away that Roglic had been taken out in the crash.
Roglic has Lennard Hofstede with him in this third group on the road. A good rider, but he's no Tony Martin.
So this is the situation. A Movistar-led group is about one minute ahead of Roglic, who is getting help from Astana to close the gap. Valverde and Quintana are in that lead echelon, along with Pogacar.
The breakaway is about a minute ahead of the Movistar group.
Well, this is very bad behaviour.
Movistar are gunning it, with Roglic about a minute adrift of them. He doesn't seem to have any teammates with him right now, but he seems pretty composed.
It would be cruel if he got caught in the crosswinds again.
Here's the moment when things hit the wall.
Movistar have... 'declined' to ease up on the pace.
Big crash in the peloton. Just as we were complaining here in the office that the race was moving very slowly, Roglic and Lopez are caught up in a big crash in the peloton. There are Bianchi Oltre XR4s all over the place as at least three Jumbo Visma riders are taken out.
Poor old Max Richeze has lost half the lycra on his body...
The gap is diminishing more and more. It's just above one minute now, perhaps the peloton is wary of losing out on a win because of the weather like they did when Nikias Arndt won in Igualada.
A reminder of the ten lucky lads who've spent the day in the break.
Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale), Domen Novak (Bahrain-Merida), Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Lawson Craddock (EF Education First), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton Scott), Ben O’Connor (Team Dimension Data), David de la Cruz (Team Ineos), Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb), Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo)
Absolutely no threats to Primoz Roglic's red jersey here.
Edvard Boasson Hagen tells us how he's feeling.
"I'm tired and I hope the rest of the peloton is tired as well."
Right then. If we're to have any crosswind fun today, it ought to arrive in about 20km.
Lousy, lousy weather today... but plenty of fans out there at the roadside. Most have remembered their brollies, luckily.
So... a Deceuninck day, then?
Quite a sudden drop in the time gap in the past ten minutes. So dramatic that it might well be a technical error.
The TV is showing 1'34", but it feels like just a few moments since it was over 3'30". Maybe the work of Katusha is actually having an effect?
Tsgabu Grmay is in the break today. The Mitchelton-Scott rider has been plugging away all through La Vuelta, but hasn't converted his efforts into a victory... yet. With a mountain top finish and a bolted-on sprint on the cards still to come, you'd say today is his last opportunity.
Tributes paid to Dave Brailsford by the studio team.
Get well soon, Sir Dave.
Heavy rains expected in Toledo at the finish. That'll liven up the finale.
Still can't get over them calling this a flat stage.
You know how we've been telling you all day it's Pierre Latour in the break? Well it was his pal, Silvan Dillier. Sorry about that.
Another update on the break composition is that Shane Archbold has knocked it on the head and gone back to the peloton.
There are four teams working together to peg the gap at around 3'30". CCC Team, Katusha Alpecin, Bora-Hansgrohe and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.
It's obvious that Bora are there for their sprinting supremo, Sam Bennett. While Caja Rural will have Alex Aranburu (who announced today he's transferring to Astana next season) in mind. Who Katusha are working for is anyone's guess. Latest word on the grapevine is that they'll be announcing a merger with another team very soon.
Just before we go to live pictures, here's a slightly different story from the world of cycling, to do with a slightly smaller race than La Vuelta.
The gap is building and building. Grawson and co. now have 3'14".
Today's tricky uphill finale is expected to stymie the pure sprinters, so it's unclear who'll be minded to do the chasing. Ben O'Connor is best placed of the break on GC, and he's a staggering 1 hour and 14 minutes down.
Valverde is being talked about by a lot of pundits, and Philippe Gilbert has won in Toledo before. I would normally like the look of Sergio Higuita, too, if he hadn't stormed to a solo stage victory yesterday.
We've had our only KOM of the day already. That won't have the slightest effect on the standings overall, and Geoffrey Bouchard moves a day closer to wearing the blue spots in Madrid.
1. Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), 3 pts2. Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step), 2 pts3. Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton Scott), 1 pt
One reason for Stetina's inclusion in the break could be that his team's management were very annoyed about missing the move yesterday - according to rider Niklas Eg - and made them set the pace (for no real reason) with 65km to go as punishment.
The break has a minute now, and here's a video walkthrough of that loop-de-loop finish.
Three Americans have made this group, Ben O'Connor, Grawson Craddock and Peter Stetina.
And they didn't hang around, did they. The flag drops and we have an escape of 11 riders.
A 30 second gap opens right away, and these are the men involved.
Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale), Domen Novak (Bahrain-Merida), Shane Archbold (Bora-Hansgrohe), Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Lawson Craddock (EF Education First), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton Scott), Ben O’Connor (Team Dimension Data), David de la Cruz (Team Ineos), Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb), Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo)
It's quite the finale today. The race crosses a bridge at 1.5km to go (pinch point), after which it hammers up a cobbled climb, under a bridge, turns left and comes back OVER itself, before an uphill, cobbled sprint finish.
How incredibly Vuelta.
Here we go then, adios Avila...
Before the riders leave Ávila, here's a reminder of yesterday's thrilling stage in and around the Sierra de Guadarrama, the setting for Ernest Hemingway's compelling, civil war novel, For Whom The Bell Tolls.
Fittingly, it was quite the battle.
From a city famous for a sixteenth century saint, to one famous for its steel. The stage is due to kick off at 12:34 UK time, and will cover 165km from Ávila down to Toledo.
The route begins with a little bit of a climb, which should see the break go clear, followed by a lumpy-bumpy undulating meander down to the plains of Castilla-La Mancha. Toledo itself sits up on a hill, and accordingly we are in for a punchy uphill finish.
Welcome to stage 19 of La Vuelta folks. It's Tom Owen standing in for Felix Lowe today, as the big man is off on parental duties. His parting words about today's parcours? "We could be in for another ambush..."