Remco Evenepoel showed his mental and physical toughness in stage five of the Vuelta a Burgos 2020, as he stuck with his rivals to secure the overall victory.
The Belgian champion fought immensely hard on the final climb of the race to Lagunas de Neila, sticking with Mikel Landa’s countless attacks to beat the Spaniard on general classification.
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Despite Landa’s praise-worthy ride, he was also beaten to stage honours by Team Ineos rider Ivan Sosa, who blasted clear of Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Landa with 600m left to race.
After a thrilling battle on the slopes of Alto del Collado, Evenepoel secured the overall victory with Landa finishing second.
How it happened
The best was saved for last at the 2020 edition of the Vuelta a Burgos, as riders faced a 158km stage from Covarrubias to Lagunas de Neila, with a lot of climbing to overcome on the road.
After a rolling opening 100km, the peloton hit the first categorised climb – Alto del Cerro (2.7km at 4.7 per cent) with another notable rise falling at 134km.
But the general classification was destined to be settled on the slopes of Alto del Collado, a 6.7 kilometre-long, 3.8 per cent climb that rose up to the finish line.
Early in the stage, six riders make their escape up the road, as Dani Navarro (Israel Start-Up Nation), Ángel Madrazo (Burgos-BH) , Joel Nicolau (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Arjen Livyns (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles), Gotzon Martín (Euskatel-Euskadi) and Delio Fernández (Nippo Delko One Provence) built up a six minute lead to set the tone of the day.But the WorldTour teams were not playing games as the gap was brought down to just two minutes with the start of final climb still 20km further down the road.
The break were finally swallowed with just over 10km to go after Bahrain-McLaren and Mitchelton-Scott had done much of the pace-setting work.
As the peloton hit the slopes of the Collado, Bahrain continued to control the race for Landa, but Evenepoel would not be shaken.
Finally inside the final 5km, Landa made his move and went clear but was reeled in shortly after only to attack at 3km.
In the closing kilometres and Landa was still trying to break free but Evenepoel was glued securely to his wheel with Ivan Sosa making his presence felt.
Evenepoel optimistically made his own attack 1,500m from the line but it was ill-advised and he was quickly caught and then looked to be in the red while battling to hold his rivals.
The trio held firm under the flame rouge but Sosa dug deep and found a little more, launching his attack and distancing Landa and Evenepoel with around 600m to the line.
Landa tried to chase but just couldn’t match the pace of the Colombian, who rode clear to cross the line nine seconds ahead of Landa.
Evenpepoel had to find even more after an already staggering climbing performance against, finding Landa’s wheel right at the line to secure his overall victory .
The 20-year-old superstar secured the overall by 30 seconds over Landa, with Quick-Step team-mate João Almeida taking third, 1-12 down on Evenepoel.
Vuelta a Burgos 2020 stage five: Covarrubias to Lagunas de Neila (158km)
1. Ivan Sosa (Col) Team Ineos, in 3-47-56
2. Mikel Landa (Esp) Bahrain-McLaren, at 9 seconds
3. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 11s
4. João Almedia (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 38s
5. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 43s
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 44s
7. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 58s
8. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott, at 1-02
9. Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 1-10
10. David de la Cruz (Esp) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-12
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step), in 19-14-42
2. Mikel Landa (Esp) Bahrain-McLaren, at 30s
3. Joäo Almeida (Esp) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 1-12
4. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott, at 1-26
5. George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-40
6. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Team Ineos, at 1-58
7. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 2-25
8. David de la Cruz (Esp) UAE Team Emirates, at 2-34
9. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 2-36
10. Mikel Nieve (Esp) Mitchelton-Scott, at 3-00