Primož Roglič powers to victory on stage one of the Vuelta a España 2020

The defending champion returns with a bang on Alto de Arrate

Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) put in a late attack on the Alto de Arrate to win stage one of the Vuelta a España 2020 ahead of Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers).

A fast and furious day that was ripped to shreds on the final two climbs by Ineos Grenadiers as they worked for Carapaz but it was Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) who took it up for Roglič and the winner of this year’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège did not disappoint, finishing one second ahead of his rivals to take the stage and the overall lead.

Chris Froome (Ineos Grenadiers) finished way down in 72nd, 11-12 down, his overall hopes up in smoke on a damp autumnal day in the Basque Country.

How it happened

The peloton started in the Basque town of Irún and took on a very difficult and hilly stage to the top of the Alto de Arrate after 173km.

 

A five-man break went away early on and got a maximum gap of 3-40 before Movistar and Jumbo-Visma pegged them back to 1-40 for the last 80km.

Those five riders were Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Jasha Sütterlin (Team Sunweb), Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH), and Quentin Jaurégui (Ag2r La Mondiale) in a strong break.

Some riders had a bad start with a few crashes, one of the favourites for overall success, Daniel Martínez (EF Pro Cycling), hit the deck hard and hurt his ankle, but he did carry on.

Cavagna attacked the break with 49km to go as the break was no longer working together with just 50 seconds back to the peloton led by Movistar, Groupama-FDJ, Ineos Grenadiers, and Caja Rural who had missed the break.

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The French time trial champion was brought back and it was then Sütterlin who hit out on the attack on a very leafy descent and later joined by Bol with 40km to go as Wellens dropped back to the peloton.

Cavagna and Jaurégui came back to the leaders with 36km to go with Jaurégui and Sütterlin arguing about workload and Cavagna also dropped back to the peloton.

Jarégui finally went away solo with 29km to go as he went to take maximum points on the second climb of the day but he was caught with 25km to go.

As the riders hit the penultimate climb it was Ineos who hit the front and set a high pace, shelling several riders out of the back including Ion Izagirre (Astana) and Chris Froome (Ineos Grenadiers) who was yoyoing back and forth from the rear of the bunch.

Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) hit an un-marshalled bollard and came off his bike just before the top of the climb, ruling him out of contention on the day.

Froome was then dropped on the descent as his team led the peloton down with Andrey Amador at the head of the train working for 2019 Giro d’Italia winner, Richard Carapaz.

It was Amador who took the peloton onto the opening ramps of the Alto de Arrate before peeling off with Brandon Rivera and Iván Sosa leading Carapaz up with 6km to go.

Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana), Daniel Martínez (EF Pro Cycling), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Wout Poels (Bahrain-McLaren), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), and Marc Soler (Movistar) were the next big name to go out of the back as Sosa took over from Rivera with 5km to go.



Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) launched an attack with 4.5km to go with Carapaz following with Enric Mas (Movistar) and Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) following with Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Roglič bridging.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) started to struggle with 4km to go as Martin as Carthy peppered the lead group with attacks.

Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott), Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe), and George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) managed to get back to the leaders with 3.5km to go.

Kuss led over the top of the KoM, meaning he took 10 points and the mountains jersey for stage two as he set the pace for Roglič with 2km to go.

Carthy tried one final attack but was swiftly brought back by Mas and just as the group slowed with 800 metres to go, Roglič hit them with the race-winning attack.

Stage two is another day full of climbing with a 151.6km route from Pamplona to Lekunberri, another potential shake up in the GC.

Results

Vuelta a España 2020, stage one: Irun to Arrate (172.5km)

1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 4-22-33
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1 second
3. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation
4. Esteban Cháves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
5. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar Team, all at same time
7. Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling, at 4s
8. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma, at 10s
9. George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma, at 40s
10. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 51s

General classification after stage one

1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 4-22-33
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers, at 5 seconds
3. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 7s
4. Esteban Cháves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott, at 11s
5. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar Team, all at same time
7. Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling, at 14s
8. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma, at 20s
9. George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma, at 50s
10. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 1-01

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