Florian Sénéchal took stage 13 of the Vuelta a España 2021 after a bizarre finale, where Fabio Jakobsen could not follow his team's lead-out but the victory stayed with the squad.
Sénéchal (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) took advantage of a rapid finish but the lead-out was meant to be for Jakobsen who sat up, potentially suffering a puncture.
The day’s break was made up of the three Spanish invited teams with them not getting more than three minutes on the peloton, as the race was controlled by the teams of the sprinters.
Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) stays in red with Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) taking some time on the other general classification riders in a split.
How it happened
The day started in Belmez with the race tackling a largely flat and hot day of 203.7km, with the finish at Villanueva de la Serena with just a three-man group going up the road.
It was the usual teams that headed into the break with Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH), Luis Ángel Maté (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Álvaro Cuadros (Caja Rural) but they were not allowed a large gap with it getting as far out as three minutes.
The wind was a headwind for the vast majority of the day meaning the pace was very steady until about 60km to go, when the wind turned for a moment and the peloton decided that they would up the pace, seeing multiple echelons form led by Ineos Grenadiers, but no-one important in the overall fight were caught out so the pace dropped yet again.
The gap to the break did come down to about 22 seconds in that moment of action but it quickly went out to over a minute yet again as Fabio Jakobsen’s Deceuninck - Quick-Step team took over to pacing of the peloton.
With 28km to go the breakaway was brought back into the peloton as the pace continued to be rather benign. The three riders seemed to be keen to head back into the main bunch.
All the GC teams came to the front with 15km to go but Deceuninck - Quick-Step were keen to keep Jakobsen near the front as they headed to the intermediate sprint. He went out of the front with a team-mate and he rolled across the line taking maximum points.
Movistar and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert both took up the pacing with 10km to go for their GC leaders along with Team DSM who were looking after sprinter Alberto Dainese.
They were quickly swamped with 6km to go by Ineos Grenadiers, Deceuninck - Quick-Step and Team BikeExchange as multiple teams were shuffling for position. With 3km to go Deceuninck - Quick-Step really stretched the race out with various splits appearing as the riders hit dangerous roads.
Deceuninck - Quick-Step’s pace was so hard that Jakobsen himself was not able to stay with it with a suspected puncture. But, the Belgian team did not panic and set up Sénéchal for the sprint despite Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) being sat on his wheel.
It was a two-horse race in the end as Dainese came up very late from the small group just behind with them finishing three seconds afterwards and Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) taking 10th at six seconds. Taking five seconds on the other GC riders.
Stage 14 is where the race heads back to the mountains with a 165.7km stage from Don Benito to the summit finish on the Pico Villuercas, a new climb for the Vuelta.
Vuelta a Espana stage 13, Belmez to Villanueva de la Serena (203.7km)
1. Florian Sénéchal (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, 4-58-23
2. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at same time
3. Alberto Dainese (Ita) Team DSM, at 2s
4. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team BikeExchange, at 3s
5. Stan Dewulf (Bel) Ag2r-Citroën
6. Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
7. Itamar Einhorn (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation
8. Antonio Jesús Soto (Esp) Euskatel-Euskadi
9. Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates, all at same time
10. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, at 6s
General classification after stage 13
1. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, in 50-31-52
2. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis, at 58s
3. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-56
4. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar, at 2-31
5. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Movistar, at 3-28
6. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious, at 3-55
7. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, at 4-41
8. Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadies, at 4-57
9. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma, at 5-03
10. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 5-38
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