Vuelta a España • Stage8
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Valls - Igualada
Vuelta a España - 31 August 2019

Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 12:12 on 31 August 2019. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Highlights 
 
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So that's confirmation, Edet is the new race leader. Teuns looks to be second, with Miguel Angel Lopez now in third.

The Colombian will not be too concerned, Edet shouldn't hold red in the high mountains of Andorra.

 

The peloton still has 3km to go before the finish. The red jersey will definitely be going to someone from the break.

 

That should put the red jersey onto the shoulders of Nicolas Edet, I think. We'll try and get you confirmation of that. The peloton has not yet finished the stage.

 

Aranburu came second, with Tosh van der Sande in third.

 

That's a fantastic victory for the German Sunweb rider, his first Vuelta victory!

 

Aranburu lights up the sprint, but Nikias Arndt comes past him on the line and wins the stage!

 

It's a chaotic sprint.

 

They've caught Stybar.

 

The riders enter Igualada, and Stybar still has a gap.

At this point Edet is going into red!

 

Now Stybar overhauls Ludvigsson and he goes clear. Can anyone catch the Deceuninck man?

 

Ludvigsson has attacked!

 

The chasers have caught the leading quartet and now they are all hammering it for home.

 

Bad luck for the Sunweb rider there. His wheel slipped out from under him on a roundabout.

4km 

Tusveld hits the deck!

6km

Aranburu is brought back. There are four riders working together now in the lead. While behind, Stybar, Teuns and Herrada are chasing hard.

The time gap is about 7 minutes, more than enough to put Edet into red!

 

Out of nowhere, seemingly, Alex Aranburu has caught and overhauled the leaders.

7.5km 

About ten more riders are chasing hard on the heels of Guerreiro and co.

10km 

They're off the descent and the trio are opening their gap further!

Because of this rain, there's a real opportunity for Nicolas Edet to sneak into the red jersey. If they take the descent as carefully as the break, he might be able to boost his gap on the peloton enough - with the help of team mate Herrada - to actually take the lead of this bike race.

 

And they are absolutely crawling round these turns now. We can barely see the riders as they gingerly make their way off the mountain.

 

So, the leaders are, Ruben Guerreiro of Katusha and Fernando Barcelo of Euskadi - Murias. They are joined by a third rider who might be Tusveld of Sunweb.

Behind them, the other 18 riders of the breakaway are in hot pursuit, hampered by the heavy downpour.

17km  

Very hard to keep tabs on the groups now, visibility is extremely poor and we have a third rider for company now in the lead.

 

It's Barcelo, the rider with Guerreiro. They have 10 seconds on the rest of the break.

 

It looks like Ruben Guerreiro has attacked the break with one of the Euskadi riders. The weather on the other side of the Montserrat is cataclysmically worse than we saw on the climb.

Yowsers.

 

The peloton, meanwhile, are dawdling up this climb. The only consideration for them is keeping Nicolas Edet pegged to below six minutes. Beyond that, they don't look like they could give a hoot about who wins this stage.

 

The weather is quite bad now, which may be interfering with signals coming from the motos.

20km 

We've lost TV pictures of the break! Now that really does add to the suspense.

 

Stetina is not a sprinter, so would really like to hit the final kms solo. But will he feel confident enough to attack his companions after digging so deep to get free on the climb?

23km

The heavens have opened again and the leaders have taken a quick dip down before climbing once more.

26km 

Herrada, Stetina and Barcelo have joined forces, but they're leaning pretty heavily on the Cofidis rider at the moment.

28km 

Stetina is just a few bike lengths ahead of Barcelo now and he's looking pained as he digs deep and pushes for the summit. Further back, Jesus Herrada is kicking into the gap.

29km 

About one and a half kilometres left for Stetina, now.

 

Barcelo rides for the Euskadi Basque team, one of two invited teams without a win so far in La Vuelta. He's making a valiant effort to bridge over to Stetina.

 

Fernando Barcelo is going solo in pursuit of Stetina.

 

Impressively, Stetina has got 22 seconds on the following chasers.

 

Huge crowds of Catalan fans on the roadside here on Montserrat and they will be delighted to see home grown rider De la Cruz as one of the key protagonists.

30km 

Herrada has decided to give chase. He skips to the front of the escape again, before David de la Cruz attacks over the top.

 

Riders from Jumbo Visma are taking on a final feed in the peloton now.

 

Stetina has 4km left of the climb and 31km of the stage.

31km 

Nic Dlamini of Dimension Data loses touch.

32km 

Peter Stetina kicks on and all of a sudden things are blown apart.

 

The peloton is riding steadily on this climb, still being led by the sky blue shirts of Astana.

 

It's lined out, but there are no riders dropped yet. Herrada is doing all the work here. Could that be a mistake?

 

Luis Leon Sanchez and Dylan Teuns are tailgunning at the moment, looking pretty comfortable. Absolutely no pressure on Sanchez at all at the moment, his teammate is in red and he can just sit in the wheels.

 

And it's Herrada who is the first to light things up. He is putting in a bit of pace, and de la Cruz is first on his wheel.

34km

Ok seatbelts on folks, this is where the stage gets tough. 7.4km of climbing to the Puerto de Montserrat starts now!

I'd imagine this group of 21 will be considerably smaller by the time we reach the summit. With the rain clouds still looking ominous, it could be the most fearless descender who takes home the victory.

 

We managed to speak to one of the riders with a very credible chance of stage victory earlier this morning.

Stybar told us his Deceuninck - Quick Step team is hungry for more wins, to add to their tally of 57 so far this season.

Video - Zdenek Stybar: We are hungry to win

00:22
 

Before we hit the lower slopes of Montserrat, let's see what Flecha has to say...

Video - Juan Antonio Flecha on the lure of Montserrat

01:27
 

Right then folks, who is going to win this today?

50km 

It was Stybar who grabbed the points in the intermediate.

 

Dylan Teuns is clinging pretty tight to the wheel of Zdenek Stybar as they pull through in the break. The gap has reached six minutes now for the first time in the day.

We're well ahead of schedule today, it seems.

55km 

And that intermediate sprint has passed with a total lack of fanfare. These riders are focused on the big prize at the end of the day.

65km 

Don't forget to listen to the latest episode of The Bradley Wiggins Show. We'll be putting out another one on the rest day, Monday, but there's plenty in the latest episode to dig into.

 

Caja has two riders in the break, which is what allows them to try a few things.

 

Caja Rural look to be forcing the pace in the breakaway now as the rain clouds begin to open.

 

Sam Bennett says the only sprinters who'll be able to sustain this climb are punchier riders like Edvald Boasson Hagen and Luka Mezgec. He puts the chances of a sprint at around 20% and doesn't rate his own odds even as high as that.

It's looking more and more likely that we're going to get a breakaway win, folks.

75km 

Five minutes now for the break and we are just 20km from the intermediate sprint. Amazingly, the current leader in the green points jersey is noted-non-sprinter, Nairo Quintana. Will the Colombian retain it tonight, or cede it to a member of the escape? It looks like only Jesus Herrada has a chance of knocking him off the top spot.

80km 

Four and a half minutes now for the break. It's edging back up again after the pursuit seemed to get a little more serious, just for a moment.

 

News that we may see some serious thunderstorms at the finish later today.

 

The man who deprived Teuns of a victory on stage 6 is also present in the break today, Jesus Herrada. The Spaniard's strengths are better suited to climbing finishes, as we saw on Thursday, so perhaps now the balance will swing to the favour of Teuns as today we finish on a flat, downhill run-in.

86km 

As we get the first live pictures of the race, we see Dylan Teuns dangling off the back of the breakaway. The young Belgian is in fantastic form and will be determined to notch a stage win here after coming so close today.

 

Feeding time for the peloton.

90km

The riders are on a high, undulating plateau at the moment. Shortly they'll begin the slow descent down again to the day's only intermediate sprint, before heading onto the category 2 climb of the Puerto de Montserrat.

 

Interestingly, our very own Juan Antonio Flecha was actually fifth on that day when Stybar won...

 

Zdenek Stybar is in the break today. He's had quite a year, with victories in two one-day classics already (if you can cast your mind all the way back to what seems a very dim and distant spring). He has a stage win in the Vuelta to his name already from way back in 2013 when he pipped his now-teammate, Philippe Gilbert, to the line in Mairena de Aljafare.

105km 

All is calm in the peloton. Still more than a hundred km to go, so plenty of time for the teams of riders like Sam Bennett or Luka Mezgec to rein in this break if they fancy a shot at a sprint finish.

 

A classic Owen anecdote. One I'll be telling my grandkids in years to come.

115km 

La Vuelta informs us that there are three Catalan riders in the race today, de la Cruz who has made the break, plus Marc Soler and Antonio Pedrero of Movistar. The region is a hotbed of cycling, thanks in large part to the fantastic roads, beautiful climbs and the fact that Girona one of it's larger cities has become the home of more than 200 professional bike riders from around the world.

Indeed, EF Education First has been based in Girona for a number of years, with riders from Astana, Dimension Data and Jumbo Visma also resident.

 

Poor old Sam Bennett is wilting a little bit in the Spanish heat...

 

Lopez, of course, won the Volta a Catalunya earlier this year, after wresting the leader's jersey from the shoulders of Thomas De Gendt. Clearly, the Colombian likes racing on the roads of Catalonia.

125km 

The last rider to win in Igualada was Nacer Bouhanni in the 2017 Volta Catalunya. Today, however, is not looking like a sprinter's stage - at least not if this breakaway has anything to say about it. They are dragging the race along with an advantage now of 4'18".

In the peloton meanwhile, Astana are leading the bunch for the race leader Miguel Angel Lopez. They'll be more than happy to let this group get even further up the road. Edet is no threat to Lopez's overall GC ambitions. Especially with the might mountains of Andorra on the menu tomorrow.

135km 

As the race continues up into the hills of Catalunya, the breakaway's lead is up to nearly four minutes.

 

Here they are then, the super-group is confirmed:

Jorge Arcas (Movistar Team), Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team), Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), Jonas Koch (CCC Team), Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama-FDJ), Carl Fredrik Hagen and Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Nic Dlamini (Dimension Data), David de la Cruz (Team Ineos), Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha Alpecin), Nikias Arndt and Martijn Tusveld (Team Sunweb), Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo), Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates), Alex Aranburu and Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Jesus Herrada and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Fernando Barcelo (Euskadi-Murias)

 

And that's it! The elastic has snapped and all of a sudden the breakaway's advantage balloons out to 2'12".

We will get you the complete list of names in the break just as soon as we can, but for now it looks as though Nicolas Edet is best-placed on GC, 6'24" down and not a serious contender.

It also looks like Dylan Teuns has made the move. The Belgian took the red jersey from a breakaway on Thursday after placing second to Jesus Herrada. Can he go a step better and win today? I think so!

140km  

This group of 21 has 42 seconds on the peloton now. They are slowly edging out the gap, but will need to keep working together to properly break clear.

 

And Alex Aranburu is up there for Caja Rural, with Fernando Barcelo of Euskadi Basque also in attendance.

 

Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama-FDJ), Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto Soudal), Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb), and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) are also up there.

 

Looks like David de la Cruz is up there for Ineos in the leading group, as is American Peter Stetina for Trek Segafredo, and Tosh van der Sande for Lotto Soudal. Notably not Thomas De Gendt.

 

And now a huge group of 21 riders has escaped. They have just a handful of seconds, but there are more in keen pursuit.

Could the words 'mega break' be rumbling towards this stage?

150km 

With victories for Cofidis and Burgos-BH already at the Vuelta this year, there are only two second-tier teams without a stage victory. We should see riders from both Caja Rural - Seguros and Euskadi Basque Country - Murias in today's move as they try to repeat the achievements of their Pro Conti counterparts.

 

And that's the end of that little sally. All back together for now as the road begins to get a little bit steeper.

Just the one classified climb today, which comes in the second half of the course, but lots of up-and-down all day long. It's the perfect parcours for a group to sneak away - but might we see some of the worst-placed GC riders also attempting to infiltrate the move, in order to win back some time?

155km 

We've seen the usual flurry of attacks in the opening 10km or so. At the moment there are seven riders clear, but this is far from being settled. Lots of activity at the front of the peloton as the various teams who've missed the move battle to get a man up the road.

 

Missed the action yesterday? Catch yourself up on Alejandro Valverde's awe-inspiring 12th career Vuelta stage win.

Video - Watch Valverde's stunning stage win on brutal summit finish

02:08
 

James Knox, the young British rider on Deceuninck - Quick Step, took a bit of a tumble yesterday. Here he is explaining what happened.

The Cumbrian is Britain's best-placed rider on GC, 5'22" down on the leaders in 29th.

Video - James Knox explains his nasty crash in Stage 7 of La Vuelta

00:54
 

Might this be a reason why the bookies particularly fancy De Gendt's chances?

The Belgian told media earlier, "We are going to try and be in the breakaway. I’ll do my best to be in the break because I think it will make it to the finish.”

 

It's a hard one to call today, the bookies have backed Thomas De Gendt as favourite, but immediately behind him is Luka Mezgec, a puncheur-sprinter, and then the pure sprinter and fastest-man-in-the-race, Sam Bennett.

Basically, they've got absolutely no idea who'll win - and neither do I!

 

Morning chicos and chicas, welcome to the live blog of stage eight of the 2019 Vuelta a Espana. The riders have just begun the neutralised start of the race, before they'll kick off hostilities for real in about five minutes.