Mads Pedersen took his third victory of the year’s Vuelta a España in a bunch kick in Talavera de la Reina.
The green jersey wearer was challenged all the way to the line by young Brit Fred Wright (Bahrain victorious) who finished second and Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Deceunick) in third but eventually won by half a bike length.
It was confident performance from Pedersen and his Trek-Segafredo team who had done a lot of controlling the race both in the early stages and the finale and further cemented his hold on the green jersey.
No other rider in the race has managed three victories and Pedersen is clearly the favourite for the race’s final sprint in Madrid.
HOW IT HAPPENED
With this 138km trek the penultimate chance for the fast-men there was little reason to be optimist that a group of escape artists would make it to the finish and so it was only three riders who, 10km into the day’s stage, went up the road.
Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH) worked smoothly while Trek-Segafredo protecting the chances of green jersey wearer and among the favourites in a sprint Mad Pedersen set the pace behind for much of the day.
But the escapees were caught at the base of the final second category climb of the day up Puerto del Pielago. The pace was set by Bahrain Victorious, presumably to try and hurt the pure sprinters and give Fred Wright better chance of victory and later Movistar, testing Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl).
A sweeping but straightforward descent followed and Bahrain’s Mikkel Landa continued to lead the peloton once it began to flatten out. Before Trek-Segafredo and Movistar took over.
Rolling along wide roads to the finish in Talavera de la Reina there seemed to be zero interest from riders in attacking the peloton with everyone resigned to a bunch sprint.
With 7km to go and many roundabout left to negotiate Mads Pedersen moved up to be behind his team-mates at the front.
But as the bunch passed under the 3km to go banner other teams massed around them with Ineos Grenadiers taking over pace setting duties at the front.
With 1km to go the bunch went round a big hairpin and Trek took the opportunity to come to the front once again with Wright on Pedersen’s wheel.
As the Dane launched the young Brit did his best to come around him but the Trek-Segafredo leader was just too strong and the win was, in the end, convincing.
VUELTA A ESPAÑA 2022: STAGE 19 RESULTS
1. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo, in 3-19-11
2. Fred Wright (GBr) Bahrain Victorious
3. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck
4. Ben Turner (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
5. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
6. Jonas Kock (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
7. Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel-Premier Tech
8. Raul Garcia Pierne (Esp) Equipo Kern Pharma
9. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astan Qazaqstan
10. Dylan van Baarle (ned) Ineos Grenadiers, all at s.t.
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 19
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, in 73-18-23
2. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar, at 2-07
3. Juan Ayuso (Esp) UAE Team Emirates, at 5-14
4. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Qazaqstan, at 5-56
5. Carlos Rodríguez (Esp) Ineos Grenadiers, at 6-49
6. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at 7-14
7. Thymenn Arensman (Ned) Team DSM, at 8-09
8. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team, at 9-34
9. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-EasyPost, at 9-56
10. Jai Hindley (Aus) BORA-Hansgrohe, at 12-03
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