Alejandro Valverde has confirmed he will retire at the end of the 2022 season and hopes to contest at least one more grand tour on home soil in the Vuelta a Espana.

Next year will be the veteran rider's 21st campaign in professional cycling and he sees no need to continue further despite still feeling able to compete.

Valverde, who ruled out competing at next year's Tour de France, will remain in a coaching role with the Movistar team after his retirement, given his contract will still have two years to run.

The 41-year-old won the Vuelta in 2009 and has achieved a further six podium finishes at the prestigious event.

Valverde has also finished third in the Tour de France and come third in the Giro d'Italia in the only time he competed in the Italian stage race in 2016, as well as being crowned world road champion in 2018.

The Spaniard returned from a two-year suspension due to the Operacion Puerto investigation in 2012, having had all of his 2010 results annulled after a lengthy legal battle.

"I say with total conviction, 100 per cent, that 2022 is going to be my last year," Valverde told Sports Radiogaceta.

"Even though my level is good at 42, it makes no sense to extend longer after 21 years in the business. What more do I want? My time has come.

"I want to enjoy my last season as a pro. I don't have my season sketched out yet, but a start at the Tour de France is already excluded.

"I hope to race the Vuelta next year, and we will study the Giro route too, and then there is the Classics and all the races on the Spanish calendar.

"When I retire I have a contract for two more years in the Movistar team. I will try to help the team as much as I can, especially by coaching young riders, which is something I like a lot."

Primoz Roglic secured his third successive Vuelta a Espana title with an imperious performance in Sunday's time trial finale.

Roglic entered the 33.8 kilometre ride from Padron to Santiago de Compostel all but sure of winning La Roja barring a remarkable turn of events.

And the Slovenian finished things off in style as he became only the fourth rider in history to win the Vuelta on three separate occasions.

Roglic also succeeded in matching Roberto Heras' feat of three consecutive triumphs (set between 2003 and 2005).

He did so by crossing the line in 44 minutes and two seconds, claiming his fourth stage win of this year's Vuelta, which was bookended by Roglic victories, the Olympic time trial champion have started this year's race with a triumph on stage one.

The Jumbo-Visma rider surpassed Magnus Cort's previous best time by 14 seconds, with Thymen Arensman 52 seconds off the pace in third.

It meant his final winning margin over Spain's Enric Mas (Movistar) was a massive four minutes and 42 seconds, with Australia's Jack Haig third for Bahrain Victorious.

As if to hammer home his superiority, Roglic overtook Mas on the final turn before crossing the line, providing an exclamation point as he underlined his status as one of the finest Grand Tour racers on the planet and a clear favourite to challenge for yet more glory next season.

Primoz Roglic would need an almighty slip up to fail to win the Vuelta a Espana, though Saturday's penultimate stage belonged to Clement Champoussin.

A monster, 202.2-kilometre route culminated in a summit finish on Mos. Castro de Herville, with 23-year-old Champoussin attacking with 1500m remaining to take the first stage win of his professional career.

The Frenchman crossed the line six seconds ahead of Roglic, who had led a chasing pack that caught breakaway leader Ryan Gibbons with around 4km left.

Roglic's second-place finish, two seconds ahead of nearest general classification rival Enric Mas of Movistar, should surely see the Jumbo-Visma rider claim La Roja for a third successive year.

It could all change in Sunday's time trial, but having won gold in such an event at the Tokyo Olympics, Roglic will know a third Vuelta crown is within his grasp.

Should he hold onto his GC lead, which stands at 2:38, Roglic will become only the fourth rider in history to win the Vuelta on three separate occasions, while he will also match Roberto Heras' feat of three consecutive triumphs (set between 2003 and 2005).

Stage 20 belonged to Champoussin, however. After Roglic, Mas, Adam Yates and Jack Haig had caught Gibbons, the AG2R Citroen rider lodged a surprise offensive, catching the quintet cold.

For a moment, with Roglic gaining ground, it looked as though Champoussin - who only turned pro last year - may have gone too soon, but he held on to claim a maiden grand tour stage success.

Behind Roglic, Adam Yates of INEOS Grenadiers just edged out Mas to secure a top-three finish. A dismal day for Miguel Angel Lopez saw him abandon the race with 20km remaining after he failed to keep pace with the general classification group.

STAGE RESULT

1. Clement Champoussin (AG2R Citroen) 05:21:50
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:06
3. Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:08

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 83:11:27
2. Enric Mas (Movistar) +2:38
3. Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) +4:48

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 250
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 179
3. Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) 145

King of the Mountains

1. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 80
2. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 61
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 51

What's next?

Sunday's final stage is a 33.8km time trial from Padron to Santiago de Compostela. A consistent climb is followed by downhill, technical sections and a flat straight to the line. 

 

Primoz Roglic heads into the final weekend of the Vuelta a Espana with a third successive title within touching distance, while Magnus Cort won stage 19 on Friday.

Danish rider Cort, who also triumphed on stages six and 12, was the quickest man in a breakaway, holding off Rui Oliveira and Quinn Simmons to clinch victory in Monforte de Lemos.

EF Education-Nippo team-mate Lawson Craddock powered out to lead the final sprint and though Simmons attacked with 200 metres to go, it was Cort who caught the slipstream to claim a dramatic win by a bike length at the culmination of a 191.2-kilometre stage.

Cort, who won two stages in the 2016 Vuelta and one in 2020, said: "It's amazing, it's a dream now, I really hope I don't wake up. It was not before the last five or six kilometres that I started believing.

"They always kept us close and it was a really hard day. We didn't always work perfect together in the front, we had a few attacks that reduced the size of the group.

"I think everybody had tired legs and it was hard to work together in this hilly terrain but somehow we managed to hang onto it."

Roglic kept his general classification competitors at arm's length as he retained his grasp on La Roja heading into the last two stages, finishing 18 seconds behind the leaders.

Saturday's mountain stage could still cause problems, while Roglic has been hurt by time trials in grand tours before – the 2020 Tour de France was settled in Tadej Pogacar's favour in such a manner – but the Slovenian looks well placed to make it three Vuelta wins in a row.

Roglic's family were on hand to witness him receive the 50th overall leader jersey of his career, and the Olympic gold medallist knows he is on the verge of a remarkable achievement.

"It’s beautiful to have my family here. They are my life and I'm very happy," he said.

"It was a hard day from the start to the finish. A super strong break went away. For us, it was fine, and we could take it easy. But La Vuelta is coming to an end so there aren’t much opportunities left.

"The sprinters' teams pulled with a super hard tempo. It's crazy [that this is my 50th Grand Tour leader’s jersey]. Hopefully I can keep it."

STAGE RESULT

1. Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) 04:24:54
2. Rui Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates) same time
3. Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 77:49:37
2. Enric Mas (Movistar) +2:30
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) +2:53

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 250
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 162
3. Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) 144

King of the Mountains

1. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 59
2. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 54
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 48

What's next?

Saturday's route is a monster. A 202.2km stage from Sanxenxo to Mos. Castro de Herville takes in five short but difficult climbs after a relatively flat start.

 

Miguel Angel Lopez sealed a first stage victory of the 2021 Vuelta a Espana for Movistar as Primoz Roglic came second to increase his lead in the general classification. 

The demanding 18th stage concluded with a 14.6-kilometre climb - and it was with roughly with four to go that Lopez made his move. 

With a group of the world's best riders not far behind and primed to take advantage should he ultimately come up short, the Colombian knew he would likely need to maintain his aggression all the way to the finish. 

And despite the chasing pack edging a little closer in the latter stages, Lopez did enough to cross the line up in the clouds at the summit finish on Altu d'El Gamoniteiru, ending up 14 seconds clear. 

Missing out on first place will have been of little concern for Roglic, however, as the two-time Vuelta winner added another few seconds to his overall advantage over Lopez's Movistar team-mate Enric Mas as he enjoyed a strong conclusion to the last major climb of the race. 

Despite finishing well, Roglic stressed just how difficult Thursday's outing was after a superb effort when winning stage 17, while he was happy to be done with the high mountains at the Vuelta for 2021. 

"It felt like a queen stage, it was really hard, especially after yesterday's effort," he said. "It was extremely hard for me and I'm happy that I had something left to climb this mountain. 

"We were off duty [with Bahrain Victorious and Movistar Team pulling the peloton]. In my opinion, we could have gone easier! It was a hard pace and a hard day from start to finish. 

"I'm happy we're done with the big mountains. We're all feeling the efforts from the last two days and the three weeks before. 

"Still there are hard stages to come. Hopefully, we can do our best and finish it off." 

STAGE RESULT

1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) 04:41:21
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:14
3. Enric Mas (Movistar) +0:20

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 73:24:25
2. Enric Mas (Movistar) +2:30
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) +2:53

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 250
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 162
3. Matteo Trentin (UAE-Team Emirates) 123

King of the Mountains

1. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 59
2. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 54
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 48

What's next?

Friday's 191.2km route from Tapia to Monforte de Lemos could be decisive. Considered "hilly" rather than mountainous, the peloton is likely to be tired after the exploits of Thursday, meaning opportunities for breakaways should be presented.

Primoz Roglic got himself back into La Roja with a superb effort in stage 17 of the Vuelta a Espana.

Two-time defending champion Roglic headed into Wednesday's route trailing general classification leader Odd Christian Eiking by 96 seconds, yet he put himself in a brilliant position to win a third successive Vuelta title.

Egan Bernal, another of the pre-race favourites, attacked with 61km remaining, but his effort was matched by Olympic gold medallist Roglic, who then powered away from the Colombian with 12km to go.

Giro d'Italia champion Bernal could not keep the pace and as Roglic powered away up the final ascent of Lagos de Covadonga, he was swallowed up by the chasing pack in the final kilometre.

Roglic crossed the line well over a minute ahead of Jumbo-Visma team-mate Sepp Kuss and now holds a big advantage over Movistar duo Enric Mas and Miguel Angel Lopez, while Eiking was dropped by the chasing group before he crashed on a descent.

While he will be confident of holding on to defend his title, Roglic knows Thursday's stage – a 162.6km route featuring four climbs – will be crucial.

"In cycling there's always a risk and a lot of things can happen but it went well today. I enjoyed it and it's a super nice day for me and the whole team," he said.

"I just went with [Bernal]. It's a race eh? I didn't think, I just went with him. Then I was thinking 'it's quite far' a little bit. It's still a hard climb at the end. I was going good, it was a real show, real racing.

"I just tried to ride up the climb as fast as possible. At that point Egan didn't follow anymore so I just went alone.

"Tomorrow is a real queen stage coming. We'll see if [my lead] will be enough after tomorrow."

STAGE RESULT

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 04:34:45
2. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +1:35
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 68:42:56
2. Enric Mas (Movistar) +2:22
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) +3:11

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 250
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 145
3. Matteo Trentin (UAE-Team Emirates) 123

King of the Mountains

1. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 51
2. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 34
3. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) 33

What's next?

Thursday's race from Salas to Altu d'El Gamoniteiru really could decide the general classification tussle in Roglic's favour should he triumph. It features two category one climbs, one category two ascent and a summit finish.

Fabio Jakobsen celebrated his 25th birthday in style as he edged a mass sprint to claim his third stage win of the 2021 Vuelta a Espana.

Tuesday's 180 kilometre stretch from Laredo to Santo Cruz de Bezana was always expected to provide a frantic finish and so it proved.

Deceuninck – Quick Step rider Jakobsen was dropped by the peloton with around 60km remaining, yet recovered brilliantly with the help of his team-mates and launched his sprint to perfection at the end of stage 16.

Jakobsen held off a late surge by UAE-Team Emirates' Matteo Trentin, who eventually finished in third, with Jordi Meeus taking second place.

"A birthday is always a good day but I'm over the moon with this win," Jakobsen said. "I think what we saw today was the Wolfpack. 

"I was dropped on a climb, the guys waited for me and brought me back. I won the race but it was all because of them. 

"The only thing I can do is do a short, fast sprint, and they did everything else today. I'm never confident but I always try – because if you don't try then you never win."

The drama was not just consigned to the finish, as a crash took out 15 riders earlier in the day, including red jersey contenders Enric Mas, Guillaume Martin and Giulio Ciccone.

Trek - Segafredo rider Ciccone, who was positioned 12th overall at the start of the day, attempted to continue but had to withdraw.

There was no change in terms of the general classification standings as Odd Christian Eiking finished safely in the peloton.

With four stages to go ahead of Sunday's conclusion in Santiago de Compostela, Martin trails Eiking by 54 seconds and Primoz Roglic is one minute and 36s behind.

STAGE RESULT

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 04:08:57
2. Jordi Meeus (BORA - hansgrohe) same time
3. Matteo Trentin (UAE-Team Emirates) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 64:06:47
2. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +0:54
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:36

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 250
2. Matteo Trentin (UAE-Team Emirates) 123
3. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–Nippo) 114

King of the Mountains

1. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 50 
2. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) 31
3. Rafal Majka (UAE-Team Emirates) 29

What's next?

A whole different challenge awaits on Wednesday with a classic climb of the Lagos de Covadonga. The gruelling stage includes a climb almost 8km long with slopes reaching an inclination of 14 per cent

Rafal Majka produced an impressive solo effort to claim a comfortable victory on stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana.

The UAE-Team Emirates rider went solo with 87 kilometres of the 197.5km route from Navalmoral de la Mata to El Barraco remaining and held off a chase led by Steven Kruijswijk.

Majka finished one minute and 27 seconds ahead of Jumbo-Visma's Kruijswijk for his first stage win in four years, with Chris Hamilton of Team DSM taking third.

"Sometimes you try and it's not easy to to get in break, but today I tried from the start," Majka said. "I didn't wait for nobody today. 

"I wanted to win the stage. I wanted to win for my father and my two two kids. I only thought of one thing.

"I had a bad start to the season and it wasn't easy for me and my family, especially when my father died. I wanted to win for him, for my kids and for my great team UAE Team Emirates."

There was no change in terms of the general classification standings on Sunday as race leader Odd Christian Eiking retained his 54s lead on Guillaume Martin, while two-time defending champion Primoz Roglic remains third.

However, there was some drama as Adam Yates jumped ahead of the peloton to snatch 15s on Eiking and the rest of the chasing pack in the battle for the red jersey.

INEOS Grenadiers rider Jonathan Narvaez abandoned the race midway through and Jonathan Caicedo did not start as they joined fellow Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz in dropping out.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Rafal Majka (UAE-Team Emirates) 04:51:36
2. Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) +1:27
3. Chris Hamilton (Team DSM) +2:19
4. Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) +2:42
5. Giulio Ciccone (Trek - Segafredo) +2:57

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 59:57:50
2. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +0:54
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:36

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 200
2. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–Nippo) 114
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 108

King of the Mountains

1. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 50 
2. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) 31
3. Rafal Majka (UAE-Team Emirates) 29

What's next?

After a much-needed day of rest, the riders go again on Tuesday with a flat 180km stretch from Laredo to Santo Cruz de Bezana. It is the last clear stage for the sprinters, so expect a mass sprint for the finish line.

Romain Bardet's late attack paid dividends as he took stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espana in Saturday's potentially pivotal mountain route.

Bardet pushed off with just under 7km remaining of the final ascent up the 14.7km Pico Villuercas climb.

Having been part of an 18-man breakaway, Bardet – of Team DSM – could not be caught and crossed the line 44 seconds ahead of Jesus Herrada, while Jay Vine came third despite crashing into his team car around midway through the stage.

Odd Christian Eiking kept hold of La Roja, though was unable to keep pace with Primoz Roglic, who edged ahead of Miguel Angel Lopez to gain 20 seconds on the race leader.

Enric Mas, Egan Bernal and Jack Haig managed to stay with two-time defending champion Roglic, who will be looking to make his prowess in the mountains count during a gruelling stage on Sunday.

"It's been a long wait. It means a lot. I've been second too many times," said Bardet, who has now taken the king of the mountains jersey, after claiming his first stage win at a Vuelta.

"Today I went full gas to be in the good break. I know that taking the polka-dot jersey it'd be a double victory. It's fantastic. 

"I think we played it smart with my sports director and he told me exactly when to attack on the steepest part of the climb and go for it as if the finish was there in front of me.

"I opened a good gap and made it to the finish. Everyone is tired but the spirit is so high in the team, so the moral is high. We're all focused and I'm so happy to be part of a good group of guys.

"We're enjoying ourselves and trying to do our best for the team. It's an amazing Vuelta."

STAGE RESULT

1. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 4:20:36
2. Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) +0:44
3. Jay Vine (Alpecin-Fenix) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 55:3:17
2. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +0:54
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:36

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 200
2. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–Nippo) 114
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 106

King of the Mountains

1. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 50 
2. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) 31
3. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 17

What's next?

Four categorised climbs await the riders on Sunday, across a mammoth 197.5km route from Navalmoral de la Mata to El Barraco.

Florian Senechal powered to victory during a dramatic climax to Stage 13, while Odd Christian Eiking retained his grip on the red jersey at the Vuelta a Espana.

Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider Senechal claimed his maiden Grand Tour stage win at Villanueva de la Serena on Friday.

Senechal's team-mate – and green jersey holder – Fabio Jakobsen looked poised for the victory heading into the twisty last 5 kilometres, but slipped off the pace at the vital moment.

The Frenchman subsequently held his nerve during the final sprint as he pipped Matteo Trentin to the line.

"I don't realise yet that I’ve won a Grand Tour stage," he said.

"It's crazy. At first, I thought Demare was going to pass me, or [Michael] Matthews. But nobody did. 

"I don't know how to thank my team-mates. They did a crazy job to put me in the perfect position. A thousand thanks. 

"I am lucky today and I'm very happy for my family, my friends and my wife. It’s a good present."

Meanwhile, GC leader Eiking survived the day in the valley to maintain his hold on the red jersey ahead of a brutal summit finish at Pico Villuercas on Saturday.

Although, the Norwegian is expecting defending champion Primoz Roglic to pose a significant threat to his chances of retaining La Roja.

"I'm happy I didn't lose too much time [on Friday]," he said. 

"I want to try and keep the red jersey tomorrow, but it depends mostly on Roglic. 

"If he decides to stand up and go for it, it's going to be difficult but if I'm lucky and if I have the legs, I can keep fighting for the jersey."


STAGE RESULT

1. Florian Senechal (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 4:58:23
2. Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates)
3. Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) +0:02

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 50:31:52
2. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +0:58
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:56

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 200
2. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–Nippo) 114
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 106

King of the Mountains

1. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) 31
2. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 27
3. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 17

What's next?

The riders return to the mountains on Saturday for Stage 14, which will run 165.7km between Don Benito and Pico Villeurcas.

Magnus Cort sealed his second stage win of the 2021 Vuelta a Espana on Thursday as he edged out Andrea Bagioli at the death to bounce back from late disappointment a day earlier.

Cort had looked in good shape to win Wednesday's stage 11 only to be caught in the final 150 metres of a late climb and his struggles ultimately saw him finish down in 25th, with Primoz Roglic crossing the line in first.

But the Dane got the job done this time around – not that he had it all his own way.

It was not until the final 95 kilometres that an initial breakaway formed, though various teams made their moves and ultimately failed to sustain them until the latter stages.

The chances of Jumbo-Visma and INEOS Grenadiers took seismic hits with less than 70km to go as Roglic and Adam Yates were caught up in a crash after a climb. Although both were able to continue, they were effectively out of the running.

EF Education-Nippo held their nerve well and came into their own towards the end as Cort was propelled to victory, though he had to dig deep right to the last as Bagioli tested him in what was essentially a decisive sprint.

Cort subsequently praised his team for such steady work early in the day, with their initially conservative approach paying off as their main man conserved energy following his gruelling efforts on Wednesday.

He said: "We talked about it with the team that we wouldn't do the big bunch sprint, but when the group was reduced, the team wants to support me in these types of stages.

"The whole team did a great job, and I was able to sit back and relax in the first hours when people were fighting for the breakaway.

"Even though I felt the legs a little from yesterday, I managed to get over the two climbs and, in the end, Jens [Keukeleire] did a very amazing job delivering me perfectly for the sprint.

"There were some very good guys, but we wanted to give it a try and I'm super happy to take this win."

Odd Christian Eiking retained the red jersey, with his 58-second gap over Guillaume Martin still in place.


STAGE RESULT

1. Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) 3:44:21
2. Andrea Bagioli (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) same time
3. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 45:33:18
2. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +0:58
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:56

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 180
2. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–Nippo) 114
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 106

King of the Mountains

1. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) 31
2. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 27
3. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 17

What's next?

Sprinters will have their chance to shine on the largely flat stage 13 as the race goes from Belmez to Villanueva de la Serena – but they should expect a demanding test, with this part of Extremadura characterised by its often-sweltering conditions.

Primoz Roglic powered clear of the pack in a thrilling conclusion to claim his second stage victory of the 2021 Vuelta a Espana on Wednesday.

The Jumbo-Visma rider crashed on Tuesday but put that behind him by holding off Enric Mas and Miguel Angel Lopez at the end of the 133.6-kilometre stretch from Antequera to Valdepenas de Jaen on stage 11.

Magnus Cort for a while looked as though he would claim a second stage triumph of his own, but he was caught inside the final 150 metres of the uphill climb and eventually finished down in 25th.

Instead, it was Roglic who timed his burst to perfection as he moved away from the main pack and finished three seconds clear of Movistar's Mas.

Roglic stays third in the general classification, one minute and 56 seconds behind Odd Christian Eiking, who is 58s ahead of Guillaume Martin after finishing strongly to end in 10th place.

"It was close again, eh? It was a hard stage," Roglic said after the race. "It was short but super hot again. I was also suffering a lot but luckily at the end I had enough for a win.

"Mas is also really super strong and luckily I had a little more at the end. It's always nice to win. You never know when it's the last one. 

"It was a nice finish with a steep uphill where I can normally do well. 

"It was a nice challenge, and the team did an amazing job pushing hard all day and keeping the breakaway at a distance so big thanks to them."


STAGE RESULT

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 3:11:00
2. Enric Mas (Movistar) +0:03
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) +0:05

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 41:48:57
2. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +0:58
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:56

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 180
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 101
3. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–Nippo) 84

King of the Mountains

1. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) 31
2. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 22
3. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 17

What's next?

Thursday's stage is another hilly one that starts in Jaen and concludes 175km later in the city of Cordoba. There are two climbs in the final third of the stage, providing a chance to break away. 

Odd Christian Eiking took over the red jesey from Primoz Roglic while Michael Storer claimed another solo win on stage 10 of the Vuelta a Espana.

Storer dominated the final downhill of the opening hilly stage to take victory at Rincon de la Victoria.

Having also won stage seven at Balcon de Alicante on Friday, the Australian became only the second rider from his nation to win two in a single edition of La Vuelta – after Michael Matthews in 2013.

"I was feeling good on the last climb. I knew exactly what I needed to do to win today. I had to attack," the DSM rider said. 

"I didn't have exact time gaps but I knew it was tight. I had to go fast down that descent. There are dry and slippery roads in this region. I felt my descent was just enough to hold on. 

"I don't realise yet that I have won two hard stages at this Vuelta after 10 days. It's actually unbelievable."

Storer finished 22 seconds ahead of Mauri Vansevenant, Clement Champoussin, Dylan van Baarle and Eiking.

Olympic champion Roglic – GC leader since the end of stage six at Alto de Cullera – went down on the slopes of Puerto de Almacher as he finished just under 12 minutes behind Storer.

That meant he surrendered La Roja to Eiking, who became only the second Norwegian leader of La Vuelta – and first since Thor Hushovd in 2006.

"I couldn't expect that this morning," he said. "I was nine minutes behind and it would almost take a miracle to be in the jersey. 

"I heard on my earpiece eight minutes, nine minutes, 10 minutes. And then in the end, I understood this was really possible. 

"I tried to get as many minutes as possible in the end. I can't describe what this means, it's really, really big."

STAGE RESULT

1. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 4:09:21
2. Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +0:22
3. Clement Champoussin (AG2R Citroen) +0:22
4. Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:22
5. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:22

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 38:37:46
2. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +0:58
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +2:17

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 180
2. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 164
3. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 74

King of the Mountains

1. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) 28
2. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 22
3. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 17

What's next?

The hilly stages continue on Wednesday with a 133.6km route from Antequera to Valdepenas de Jaen.

Damiano Caruso became the first rider to win a mountain stage in two different grand tours in 2021 as he triumphed at the Vuelta a Espana on Sunday.

On the back of a second-place finish at the Giro d'Italia, Caruso took stage nine, holding off pressure from Enric Mas and general classification leader Primoz Roglic in the process.

Caruso, who won a mountain stage at the Giro, finished 65 seconds clear of two-time defending champion Roglic, with the Slovenian Olympic gold medallist outsprinting Mas to beat the Spaniard by a second.

Roglic's lead in the GC now stands at 28 seconds, with the race's first rest day coming up on Monday.

"We deserve it eh? It was a hard day, again super hot, and some big climbs. I survived it and I'm looking forward for tomorrow," Roglic said at the finish in Alto de Velefique.

"For sure our guys did a great job. INEOS [Grenadiers] put a hard pace on the long climb. It was hard and then here at the end it was quite fast with a big explosion. Luckily, I had OK legs so I could finish it.

"It's a beginning, now we have the rest day, and we just need to stay in one piece healthy with the whole team and then we'll be looking for the next stages."

Mas sits second in the GC standings, with his Movistar team-mate Miguel Angel Lopez almost a minute behind, ahead of Jack Haig.

Miguel Angel Lopez is one minute and 21 seconds behind Roglic in third, with Jack Haig one minute and 42 seconds back in fourth and Giro champion Egan Bernal in fifth.

STAGE RESULT

1. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) 5:03:14
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:05
3. Enric Mas (Movistar) +1:06
4. Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) +1:44
5. Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) +1:44

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 34:18:53
2. Enric Mas (Movistar) +0:28
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) +1:21

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 180
2. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 164
3. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 74

King of the Mountains

1. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) 28
2. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 22
3. Pavel Sivakov (INEOS Grenadiers) 16

What's next?

A rest day in Almeria comes on Monday, with the Vuelta kicking back into gear on Tuesday with a 189m route from Roquetas de Mar to Rincon de la Victoria. It is mostly flat, but a category two climb will separate the contenders before a descent to the finish line.

Fabio Jakobsen kept enough in reserve to edge a frantic sprint finish on stage eight of the Vuelta a Espana and go top of the points classification.

After Friday's first mountain stage of the 2021 Vuelta, it was back to a near flat run from Santa Pola to La Manga del Mar Menor on Saturday, resulting in a mass scramble in the closing kilometre.

With his Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere watching on, after travelling to join the team in Spain, Jakobsen was guided towards victory by a determined collective effort.

Florian Senechal led a burst at the front of the pack, spreading the peloton and allowing team-mate Jakobsen space to come steaming through to fend off another fast finisher in Alberto Dainese.

For 24-year-old Dutchman Jakobsen, it means that he has two stage wins already in this Vuelta – he also won twice in the 2019 race – and sits top of the points classification.

"It's very special to be here again," he said on Eurosport, as he celebrated his victory.

"The team did a perfect job. They kept the speed high, and even though I lost them a little bit I was still in a good position and I launched my sprint in the corner with 200 [metres] to go, and I was the fastest I think.

"It was about being strong, fast, and it's about timing. On a finish like this you need to be on time – I've been twice too late and this time I was perfectly right from the corner and I could do a full sprint to the line."

Jakobsen suffered a massive crash at the Tour de Pologne in August of last year, which led to him being put into an induced coma, and he spoke later of being thankful to have survived.

The Vuelta has been good to him, and on Saturday he said: "Two years ago I won twice – I'm extremely happy and grateful to be here. This is what we will keep on doing, trying to win sprints."

There was barely a straggler to be found, with the leading 136 riders on the stage all crossing the finish line within a minute of Jakobsen.

It meant the leading positions in the general classification were unaffected, with Primoz Roglic staying in La Roja as the general classification leader, the Jumbo-Visma rider still eight seconds ahead of Bora-Hansgrohe's Felix Grossschartner.

STAGE RESULT

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 3:56:05
2. Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) +0:00
3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) +0:00
4. Jordi Meeus (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:00
5. Itamar Einhorn (Israel Start-Up Nation) +0:00

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 29:14:40
2. Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:08
3. Enric Mas (Movistar) +0:25

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 180
2. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 164
3. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 74

King of the Mountains

1. Pavel Sivakov (INEOS Grenadiers) 16
2. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 12
3. Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) 11

What's next?

After the rather routine nature of Saturday's ride, Sunday will be a wholly different story. It is back to the mountains for the 188km race from Puerto Lumbreras to Alto de Velefique. The riders will have it relatively easy in the first 90km, before the serious ascents begin with the category one Collado Venta Luisa.

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