Damiano Caruso (Bahrain - Victorious) claimed a stunning Stage 9 win at the Vuelta a Espana, while in the general classification fight Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) made a big statement in the red jersey ahead of the rest day.
The Bahrain – Victorious rider, who came second in the Giro earlier this year as well as taking another solo stage win there, was part of an early break of 11 riders, but was able to jump clear of the remnants of the move with 75km to go. It is only Caruso's fourth professional victory in a career that spans more than a decade.
At the base of the final climb – the Especial category Alto de Velefique – the 33-year-old had an advantage of 2'47" on the four chasers - Romain Bardet (Team DSM), Rafal Majka (UAE-Team Emirates), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA) and Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën Team) – and 4'53" on a peloton that included Roglic.
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Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) was part of that main group of favourites and attacked on multiple occasions during the climb of Velefique, but Roglic closed down the moves from the Brit. Ultimately, Yates was caught and dropped by Enric Mas (Movistar) and Roglic, with the four-man chase pack also swallowed up.
The pairing of Mas and Roglic was strong enough to stay ahead of the other contenders for the red jersey, and they crossed the line about one minute down on Caruso. From there, it was another 44 seconds until the next rider crossed the line.
Jack Haig (Bahrain - Victorious) was fourth and Miguel Ángel López (Movistar Team) fifth, with Yates taking sixth on the stage.
Egan Bernal (Ineos) and Mikel Landa (Team Jumbo-Visma) were the big casualties in the GC battle, finishing 2'10" and 5'04” in arrears to Roglic. Landa's GC is now effectively over, with Bahrain's focus likely shifting to support Jack Haig.
Mas is now 28 seconds behind Roglic, second in the race for red with teammate López at 1’28” occupying the final podium place.
‘We deserve a rest day!’ – Roglic after he puts time into rivals
Jacopo Guarnieri (Groupama FDJ), Sergio Roman Martin (Caja Rural) and Johan Jacobs (Movistar) all abandoned the race today.
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