The moment the man in rainbow stripes won...
Onda - Alto Mas de la Costa
Vuelta a España - 30 August 2019
Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 11:30 on 30 August 2019. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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So, for the third time in this Vuelta, Miguel Angel Lopez is in the red jersey. The Colombian is now six seconds clear of Primoz Roglic, 16 seconds clear of Alejandro Valverde and 27 seconds clear of Nairo Quintana. Rafal Majka is a distant fifth at 1'58".
Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) came home for fifth place at 42 seconds.
That's Valverde's 12th stage win on the Vuelta and a career 127th win for the 39-year-old.
The world champion beats Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) for the win, with Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) in third about seven seconds down and just ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
Victory for Alejandro Valverde of Movistar!
Now he goes! Roglic tries to follow...
Valverde leads this out now...
Lopez and Valverde kick through but Roglic now takes it up - and they're all riding in a line across the road.
Ion Izagirre is with Aru and Bennett a bit further back. Majka isn't far behind the four leaders but he will run out of road.
Under the flamme rouge they go. Who's your money on? With his kick, you'd think Valverde. In any case, Lopez should be in red again tonight.
Pogacar, his jersey unzipped, is riding in pursuit of Majka. And now Quintana puts in an attack! Lopez responds, then Roglic and Valverde join. Cagey stuff.
Majka has ridden clear of Pogacar and Bennett. But they're riding for fifth place today.
Quintana leads with Roglic, Lopez and Valverde right in his wheel. The fabulous foursome of this race.
Quintana looks like he's hit the wall. But then he's back after finding a second wind.
Chaves, Pogacar and Bennett are in a threesome behind, with Majka and Aru a bit further back.
Blimey, it's just Quintana, Roglic, Lopez and Valverde now.
Aru and Nieve have been dropped. And now Quintana takes it up.
Jumbo are pushing on with Sepp Kuss and George Bennett with Primoz Roglic in third wheel. This elite group is down to just a dozen riders.
Henao is a few metres ahead of Gilbert as the Jumbo-led pack swallows them up.
Right, it's time to climb a narrow goat track! We're onto the Cat.1 Alto Mas de la Costa (4.1km at 12.3% and a maximum of 25%).
Seb Henao and Brambilla have been caught by the pack. Just 28 seconds for the leaders.
Astana still tempo setting on the front of the pack. Jumbo-Visma are right there, too.
The leaders have entered the town of Llucena but they have less than a minute to play with before the final step of the descent ahead of the final rise.
And we're hearing that Segio Higuita has crashed on the previous descent. The Colombian crashed yesterday and had that mechanical earlier today. His - and his team's - luck was already rock bottom, but that is just cruel.
Astana have now taken things up on the front - working for their man Miguel Angel Lopez, who could move into the red jersey for the third time in this opening week of the race.
Gilbert now kicks clear on an uncategorised hill before the road drops to the foot of the final climb. Sergio Henao manages to bridge over but the other Henao drops back with Brambilla.
And if Teuns will lose the red jersey then it won't go to David de la Cruz: the Spaniard from Ineos has also been dropped by the main pack. He was in second place on GC this morning after also starring in yesterday's break.
Stunning scenery here on these wooded and at times exposed and jagged hills. The four leaders have 1'15" on the pack and will surely not go the distance, given the steepness of the final 'muro'. Teuns, the red jersey, is now three minutes back.
Geoghegan Hart's brief foray off the front of the pack comes to an end shortly after the summit. So, just the four-man break left up the road, with around 1'30" to play with.
It's Sergio Henao who, for the fourth time, takes maximum points over the summit from this four-man move. He's up to 17pts in the polka dot jersey standings - second place behind Madrazo on 33pts.
Seb Henao has joined his older cousin Sergio Henao in the leading group with Gilbert and Brambilla. They have 1'35" on the pack. Teuns is now 2'25" back so will lose the red jersey today.
Tao Geoghegan Hart rides clear of the peloton - and because he's so far down on GC, Movistar led him do just that. Still 2.5km remaining of this climb - and the peloton is down to about 45 riders.
Brambilla has joined the two leaders. They have 16 seconds on Seb Henao and Storer. But the others have now been caught - and passed, for the most part - by the Movistar-led peloton, who trail the front by just 1'35".
Dylan Teuns, the red jersey, has been dropped by the peloton. That shows how tough this pace is - and how much he gave yesterday.
Gilbert and Sergio Henao have 15 seconds on Brambilla, Storer and Sebastian Henao, with Marczynski, Jauregui, Barthe and Rossetto further back. The weather is really closing in.
Things are slimming down on the front. Wallays has popped, and now Barthe. Gilberty and Henao (Sergio) set the tempo and ride clear with Marczynski and the other Henao, Sebastian, in pursuit.
The Belgian Wallays seems to be struggling in the break - as is the green jersey Sam Bennett back in the (or should I say off the) pack.
The break is onto the penultimate climb which should force a selection. It's the Cat.2 Puerto del Salto del Caballo (10.4km at 4.6%).
Higuita is still trying to battle through the cars. He's around 30 seconds down with the entire Movistar team driving the tempo on the front. The gap for the 10 leaders is 2'45".
Puncture for Sergio Higuita - at the worse moment. EF Education First can't get the rub of the green at the moment.
With Nairo Quintana just nine points behind Sam Bennett in the points classification, the Colombian could be back in green tonight if this break is reeled in and he finishes strongly.
We're hearing that Rigo Uran, who crashed out yesterday with a broken collarbone, is in hospital with a punctured lung. Fingers crossed for a swift recovery.
Meanwhile, it's three minutes now for the 10 leaders.
This rolling terrain is making it difficult for Madrazo to return to the peloton. He's grimacing as he digs deep on another uphill rise having punctured just as it all kicked off.
Another crash: Britain's James Knox (Deceuninck-QuickStep) is sitting in a heap on the side of the road as Madrazo zips past with Rubio. He must have come a cropper in the peloton just now. We're hearing that he has abandoned, but I think that was just a mistake with the captions on the host broadcaster, because the abandoned motif was quickly replaced with a crash motif.
CRASH: Burgos-BH put on a masterclass the other day with the one-two in Stage 5 but that was just comedy. Three riders drop back to help Madrazo back into the fold, but then two of them crash with a Katusha rider on the apex of a roundabout. Madrazo isn't one who bites the bitumen, and he's now with Diego Rubio trying to fight back.
Jelle Wallays wins the intermediate sprint back in Onda in such embellished fashion - he even lunged dramatically over the line - that I can assume he was taking the p*ss. Madrazo has still not managed to rejoin the peloton, such is the pace of the Movistar tempo-setting.
The polka dot jersey Angel Madrazo has had to drop back for a wheel change. Meanwhile, Movistar has really stretched out the pack on this sweeping descent, cutting the deficit to just 3'15".
Today's final climb is only 4km but it's one of those fabled Vuelta goat tracks - with an average gradient of 12.3% and maximum ramps of 25%. When the race last came here, in 2016, the win went to Mathias Frank from the break.
Yet more KoM points for Sergio Henao who leads the break over the third summit in pole position ahead of Barthe, the only Frenchman on the otherwise all-Spanish Euskadi-Murias team. I think Rossetto took third - although the cameras picked it up from behind.
The gap is almost five minutes now, prompting the arrival of Movistar and Astana to the front of the pack.
The leaders are onto the Cat.3 Puerto de Alcudia de Veo (4.2km at 4.4%).
The peloton has just gone over the top of the climb with a deficit of 4'30". It was the second Henao cousin, Sebastian, who took the maximum 5pts over the top from the break, so they're keeping it in the family today. CORRECTION: It was Sergio, not Sebastien, who took the points - ahead of Barthe and Jauregui.
We're onto the Cat.2 Puerto de Eslida (6km at 4.5%). The gap is just under the four-minute mark as Bahrain-Merida come to the front to drive the pace for their man in red, Dylan Teuns.
This 10-man move has four former Vuelta stage winners in it: Marczynski (Stages 6 & 12, 2017), Wallays (Stage 18, 2018), Brambilla (Stage 15, 2016) and Gilbert (Stages 3 & 19, 2010; Stages 9 & 19, 2012; Stage 12, 2013). By contrast, Sebastian Henao - cousin of Sergio - has never finished higher than 67, although this is the Ineos rider's first appearance. Many thanks, Procyclingstats.
The mercury has pushed through the 30 barrier now so it's hotting up on the Vuelta. The break has enjoyed the short descent and is now ploughing a furrow towards the next climb.
It's former Sky rider Sergio Henao who goes over the top of the climb in pole position to net 3pts ahead of Lotto duo Wallays and Marczynski.
The average speed for the two hours since the start has been 45.9km/h. Zippy.
We're onto the first climb of the day, the Cat. 3 Puerto del Marianet (3.7km at 5.5%). There's a maximum total of 26 KoM points up for grabs today and so the only rider who can catch Angel Madrazo (33pts) is his teammate Jetse Bol (11pts) or Wout Poels (8pts). Neither are in the break and so McLovin' Madrazo - the Sparrow of Cazona - will keep hold of the polka dots for another day.
Confirmation from EF Education First about their latest withdrawal.
The two chasers have now managed to join the leaders so we have 10 riders out ahead now. The gap is 3'45" with the climb coming right up. (Oh, and fish & chips since you asked - it is Friday, after all.)
The road is starting to edge uphill now to the foot of the first climb, which kicks off in around 10km. The leaders still have 20 seconds on the chasing duo and 3'10" over the pack, which has now caught Smit after his potato-chasing cameo. I'm off to pick up some lunch. Back in 10 mins before the climb.
Barthe and Marczynski have now joined forces. They're around 35 seconds down on the leaders. Willie Smit, who plays golf off a handicap of two apparently, is still stuck in the rough, another minute back but 30 seconds clear of the pack.
The best placed rider in this break is Gianluca Brambilla of Trek-Segafredo who is nine minutes down on GC. That should give these guys some leeway. The Italian was involved in yesterday's break, while Storer was in the earlier failed break today. We've also seen the Belgian Wallays - a stage winner last year - in a break before in this Vuelta. The gap back to the peloton is up to 1'40" with the chasers still caught in between.
The eight-man break have 20 seconds on Cyril Barthe (Euskadi-Murias), 35 seconds on Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal), 55 seconds on Willie Smit (Katusha-Alpecin) and 1'20" on the peloton. Could this be the move which sticks?
Right, there's some movement. A break of eight has formed: Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal), Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates), Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), Quentin Jauregui (AG2R La Mondiale), Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Michael Storer (Mitchelton-Scott) and Sebastian Henao (Team Ineos).
This was the moment Van Garderen left the road yesterday.
Only this morning, Tejan van Garderen said, when quizzed about his crash: "It's mainly just skin abrasion and I do have a small break in my middle finger in my right hand. It’s not quite as serious as what I had in the Tour. No team deserves that, I feel so bad for Rigo… Breaking bones is something but I know how much pain he was in last night and no one deserves that. We have to keep moving forward. We still have strong motivated riders. Higuita is doing his first Grand Tour, Martinez is riding strong… We have a good group and we have to look ahead."
You have to feel for EF Education First. They lost their principal GC rider in Uran yesterday and now another key helper in Van Garderen after Carthy yesterday. That puts them down to five riders, the best placed being Grand Tour debutant Sergio Higuita, who is in 15th place at 3'46" after himself crashing badly in that pile-up. They entered the race as one of the most exciting teams and looked to be animating things; now, they are pretty much wiped out. A lot rests on Higuita and fellow Colombian Dani Martinez, who is 19th at 4'49".
Tejay Van Garderen (EF Education First) has abandoned. More bad news for the American team, who lost both Rigoberto Uran and Hugh Carthy to that big crash yesterday. Van Garderen was in the break and so avoided the pile-up - until he careered off the road on the descent to the foot of the final climb. He finished the stage but in last position, and this fast pace today has clearly been a step too far.
Fast and furious: 49.8km were covered in the first hour today, which is why it seems to be tricky for the break to form. And as I type, the latest break attempt is thwarted.
Another group is in the process of forming and it looks like Angel Madrazo, the polka dot jersey wearing Stage 5 winner, is in the mix. McLovin' it!
Six riders - Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal), Dion Smith (Mitchelton-Scott), Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data), Matteo Fabbro (Katusha-Alpecin), Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) and Ricardo Vilela (Burgos-BH) - manage to join the two leaders, but they only succeeded in dragging the peloton back. Gruppo compatto again, as they'd say in the Giro.
Barcelo's bridging attempt came to nothing while our two leaders now have 40 seconds on the pack, which is chasing hard and not prepared to let this one go.
Talking of Ineos, it seems Chris Froome is back on the bike and talking to French school kids about his crash...
Ineos clearly want something from this race after the early GC disappointment for both Poels and Tao Geoghegan Hart. Yesterday both the above were on the attack before David de la Cruz got himself in the winning move. The Cofidis-bound Spaniard was in the virtual red jersey at one point before tailing off towards the finish. Still, he's up to second place after his ninth place.
Spaniard Fernando Barcelo (Euskadi-Murias) is trying to bridge over to the two leaders. The gaps are very small.
It may have looked ugly and unorthodox, but the Frenchman still won the stage that day... Can he do a repeat today?
You may also remember Cavagna for his novel approach to cycling downhill from the Tour of California earlier in the year...
You may remember Remi Cavagna from his foray off the front in the final few kilometres of Stage 4. He was eventually reeled in with 1,200m remaining before QuickStep teammate Fabio Jakobsen picked up the baton and denied Sam Bennett in a photo finish.
It's another sunny day in Spain with the temperature 29 degrees and a slight crosswind from the right on this flat stretch of road that runs all the way to the first climb in around 70km.
Just 20 seconds for our two leaders, who will hope to be joined by some other bodies if they want this to have any chance of going the distance.
Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Michael Storer (Team Sunweb) zip clear of the pack to open up a small gap.
Quentin Jauregui (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Wout Poels (Team Ineos) and Domingos Goncalves (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) are the next riders to try their luck but the trio is quickly reabsorbed by the peloton. Poels was on the attack yesterday early in the stage - taking the first two summits in pole position before being caught, and then coming down lightly in that big crash.
That move comes to nothing.
Around 30 riders manage to open up a small gap on the pack.
Un update on those injuries yesterday: Both Carthy and Uran suffered broken left collarbones, Victor de la Parte (CCC Team) "a fractured scapula and rib on his left side" and Nicholas Roche (Team Sunweb) received "a dozen stitches to his forearm" but "despite a lot of road rash, was cleared of any major injury."
They're off! The remaining 168 riders have left Onda and got the show on the road.
It's a big blow, too, for Bora-Hansgrohe who are now down to just six riders following the earlier withdrawal of Gregor Muhlberger.
Yesterday's crash continues to take its toll: Italian champion Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) has withdrawn from the Vuelta this morning. Formolo was 12th going into yesterday's stage but hurt his pelvis in the fall and finished 18 minutes down. That's a sad way for the rider to end his career with Bora - he's off to UAE Team Emirates next season.
When last used in 2016, the Alto Mas de la Costa – although just 4.1km long – took its toll on the peloton with its average gradient of 12.3%. Switzerland's Mathias Frank emerged the strongest from the break ahead of Sky's Leopold Konig as favourites Alberto Contador, Esteban Chaves, eventual winner Nairo Quintana and a yo-yoing Chris Froome all came home together. As the riders made the left-hand turn onto the final climb, the message "Hell starts here" was daubed across the road in paint. We seriously doubt things have got any more heavenly since.
A flat opening third is followed by a succession of lower-category climbs which shouldn't prove too taxing. But then, in true Vuelta fashion, Spain's answer to Inland Revenue – the Agencia Tributaria – come calling with a climb of hellish proportions that will carry out an internal audit on all the red jersey hopefuls. Those fraudulent riders writing cheques their withholding legs can't cash in will be slapped with a hefty fine in the general classification stakes as their rivals make some key capital gains.
Right, enough looking backwards, let's take a look at today's stage.
With Uran and Roche dropping out of the top 10, here's the new look GC as Teuns moved into the red jersey ahead of fellow escapee David de la Cruz.
But the big news was the crash which forced four big-name riders - Rigo Uran, Hugh Carthty, Victor de la Parte and Nico Roche - out of the race.
Here's the moment Herrada won...
Yesterday, Spain's Jesus Herrada out-kicked fellow escapee Dylan Teuns on the fourth and final climb to win Stage 6 in Ares del Maestrat as the Belgian moved into the race lead. Herrada succeeded where his brother and Cofidis teammate Jose fell short 24 hours earlier, securing a first Grand Tour stage win after proving the strongest of an 11-man breakaway in the 198.9km stage from Mora de Rubielos...
Hola and welcome to live coverage of Stage 7 of the Vuelta a Espana - a third successive summit finish, and perhaps the hardest of them all.