Vuelta a España 2022: Rigoberto Uran wins stage 17 from the break
The EF Education-EasyPost rider proved the strongest on the day's final climb while Remco Evenepoel remains in the race lead
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Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost) won stage 17 into Monasterio de Tentudía, ahead of Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ) and Jesus Herrada (Cofidis). It was the Colombian’s first career stage win in the Spanish grand tour.
The three men had formed part of a 13-rider breakaway, which eventually formed a sizable lead after a hectic first hour of racing. Inside the final 18km Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco) made a number of attacks as he attempted to leave his fellow chasers behind.
With 2.5km of the final climb remaining Craddock still had a small lead but was soon joined by a handful of riders, including Uran, Pacher, Herrada, Clement Champoussin (AG2R Citroën) and Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates). What followed was an enthralling uphill slugfest, as they took turns in attacking each other, with the line drawing ever closer.
However it was Uran who proved strongest, passing Herrada with around 500m to go and holding on for a famous stage win. It also saw him vault several places in the GC standings. He now finds himself in ninth place with four stages remaining.
Among the main GC contenders race leader Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and second place Enric Mas (Movistar) finished two seconds ahead of Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) who sits in third. His team mate João Almedia managed to grab a few seconds on the final climb, riding away from Evenepoel and Mas, to move him up to sixth place in the overall standings.
How it happened
Today’s stage promised plenty of attacking racing, over a hilly 163km ending in a 10km climb with an average gradient of around 5%. Alongside the high profile abandonment of Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), who didn’t line up due to the injuries suffered in yesterday’s crash, there were two more DNS: Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) and Fillipo Conca (Lotto-Soudal)
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) attacked from the flag but was quickly reeled in by the peloton. Ryan Mullens was the next rider to attempt to break clear and managed to build up a gap of 10s before being caught by the pack.
The rolling terrain continued to entice attacks and Clément Champoussin (AG2R Citroën), James Shaw (EF Education-EasyPost) and Clément Russo (Arkea Samsic) went clear after 18km, quickly building a narrow lead of 11s.
UAE Team Emirates, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Bahrain Victorious all began to pull, seemingly interested in joining the break. The result was the three riders were soon caught.
Robert Stanndard (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was the next to attack after 25km of racing. His exposure out front didn’t last long however. Unlike yesterday, today’s break looked as though it would take some time to form; for the first 30 minutes of racing the average speed was 52.2kph.
More attacks followed as the fight to establish the day’s break rolled on.
Clément Champoussin, Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën), Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) and Simon Guglielmi (Arkea-Samsic) managed to creat a gap of 14s to the bunch and were soon joined by Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Premier Tech) and Luis Angel Maté (Euskaltel-Euskadi).
This large group built up a lead of 46s with 115km remaining. They were followed by a second group on the road comprising Luis Leon Sanchez (Bahrain Victorious), Kamil Malecki (Lotto Soudal), José Manuel Diaz (Burgos-BH) and Clément Russo (Arkea Samsic) who had a led of 34'' on the main bunch but were soon caught before they had to make the bridge to the lead group of attackers.
While the breakaway tried to gain ground, Rein Taaramäe had to abandon the race, leaving his Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team with only three riders left in the race: Jan Bakelants, Julius Johansen and Louis Meintjes.
After a fast and hectic first hour of racing, with an average speed of just under 49kph, the day’s break, featuring 13 riders, finally appeared to be established. With just under 100km remaining their lead on the peloton was 2-19.
Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) was seen visiting the medical car, after a crash earlier in the stage. The Spaniard currently sits third in the GC overall after the withdrawal of Roglic.
With 90km to go the break’s lead had grown to 3-14, while Alpecin-Deceunik began to pull on the front of the peloton. They were soon joined at the front by Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, doing their duty as owners of the leaders jersey. They took control, allowing the break to grow its lead to over 5-00 as they headed into the final 80km of the stage.
At 73km to go, the lead had extended to 6-36. Coming out of the feed station Kayden Groves (BikeExchange-Jayco) took a tumble but was able to continue the stage.
With 56km to go the lead had grown to 7-30; the winner of today’s stage now seemed likely to come from the 13 man break. Quick-Step continued to head the bunch, controlling the lead, and reducing the gap to under 7-00 with 38kms to the finish.
With a little over 32 km to the finish, Lawson Craddock attacked from the break but quickly thought better of it and re-joined the group soon after.
The intermediate sprint at Segura de León was won by Fred Wright, ahead of Rigoberto Uran, Marc Soler, Gino Mäder and Elie Gesbert (Team Arkea Samsic). The 20 bonus points meant that Wright closed the gap on Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) in the points classification to 200 points.UAE Team Emirates
Craddock decided to have another dig as the road kicked up with 18km remaining. He was soon joined by Jungels and Pacher. The quicking in pace saw Fred Wright off the back of the break and as the pace quickened but the British rider managed to claw his way back into the lead group.
The American rider’s third attack saw him distance the break with 14.5km to go. With pure climbers like Soler in the break, Craddock seemed content to roll the dice on a solo attack rather than wait for the final slopes of the day. His lead on the chasers hovered around 11 and 12s as the race entered the final 10kms.
Back in the main bunch, which was 7-37 back, Movistar took to the front and began pulling. The Spanish team were joined by Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) who took the opportunity to stretch his legs, as teams sought to get their protected riders in position ahead of the final climb.
Inside the final 5km Craddock’s lead had grown to 23s, which had the effect of splintering the chasing break as riders accelerated to try to reduce the gap to the American. Champoussin led the way with Uran and Gesbert in tow. They were then joined by Pacher.
By now Craddock was pulling faces but managed to maintain a solid tempo, keeping his lead at 16s with 2.4km to the finish. The chasers were joined by Soler, the potential danger man, who then took the front of the chasing group. Elissonde joined the chase as Uran, Herrada, and Pacher accelerated away in pursuit of Craddock.
They joined the American as they passed under the 1km mark.
Champoussin then jumped clear, his mouth wide open, as he tried to pull in as much air as possible. More attacks followed, with Herrada going clear, but Uran remained in hot pursuit with 500m to go. Soler and Pacher refused to give up, with Pacher joining in the fun as the riders continued to take one dig after another in pursuit of victory.
Eventually it was the Colombian rider who proved strongest, staying clear of Pacher and Herrada to capture his first ever stage win in the Vuelta and move into the top-10 in the GC standings.
Back in the peloton, Mas and Evenepoel went clear on the climb before João Almedia kicked on. The UAE rider finished ahead of Evenepeol and Mas, who in turn finished 2s ahead of Ayuso. However, it left the podium spots unchanged as the race heads into the mountains.
VUELTA A ESPAÑA 2022: STAGE 17 RESULTS
1. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-EasyPost in 3-42-28
2. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 0 secs
3. Jesus Herrada (Esp) Cofidis, at 2s
4. Marc Soler (Esp) UAE Team Emirates, at 15s
5. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segfredo, at 26s
6. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën, at 29s
7. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Israel-Premier Tech, at 46s
8. Bob Jungels (Lux) AG2R Citroën, at 55s
9. Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkéa Samsic, at 1-09
10.Lawson Cradock (USA) Team BikeExchange-Jayco, at 1-30
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 17
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, in 65-14-05
2. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar, at 2-01
3. Juan Ayuso (Esp) UAE Team Emirates, at 4-51
4. Carlos Rodríguez (Esp) Ineos Grenadiers, at 5-20
5. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Qazaqstan, at 5-33
6. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at 6-51
7. Thymenn Arensman (Ned) Team DSM, at 7-46
8. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team, at 9-11
9. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-EasyPost, at 9-33
10. Jai Hindley (Aus) BORA-Hansgrohe, at 11-40
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Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for over twenty years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He fell in love with cycling at an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a passionate follower of bike racing to this day as well an avid road and gravel rider.
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