Richard Carapaz is back fighting: Five things we learned from stage 12 of the Vuelta a España 2022

The reigning Olympic Champion proves a point as Remco Evenepoel suffers a crash

Vuelta peloton in a town
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REMCO EVENEPOEL MAY REGRET NOT WEARING GLOVES

Remco Evenepoel

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Race leader Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) crashed hard on an innocuous looking corner on a descent this afternoon at the Vuelta a España.

The Belgian was visibly frustrated at his misfortune and his right thigh, as well as knee and hand were left bloodied after the incident. Evenepoel often chooses to race with bare hands but after his heavy crash he may come to regret that decision. 

Nowadays riders are choosing to neglect mitts more frequently, and looking around the Vuelta peloton that immediately becomes clear. 

However as most cyclists know, the moment you hit the floor putting out your hand is an instant reaction. Perhaps Evenepoel will choose to use his mitts as an extra precaution in the days to come. 

CARAPAZ IS BACK FIGHTING 

Richard Carapaz

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Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) has so far had a Vuelta a España to forget. 

The Ecuadorian has been off of the pace of the leaders and as a result has lost substantial time. Prior to today’s stage 12 Carapaz was 24th overall at 19-26 from the overall lead of Evenepoel. Although the reigning Olympic champion would soon put that right. 

Carapaz managed to make the breakaway on stage 12 and it was clear from the word go that he was back fighting and ready to prove a point. In the run into the final climb of the Peñas Blancas, Carapaz set his own pace allowing several other riders to launch early attacks on the climb knowing that he could catch them. 

Once  Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) and Élie Gesbert (Arkea-Samsic) had been reeled back in, Carapaz launched a violent attack flying past the former of the two. 

Grimacing in pain, Carapaz pushed on to take the stage win in style and prove that he won’t get knocked down easily at any Grand-Tour. 

JAY VINE IS FATIGUED AFTER HIS TWO-STAGE WINS

Jay Vine

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Despite making the days breakaway and being present on the final climb, it soon became clear that Jay Vine is fatigued from his recent stage winning exploits at the Spanish Grand Tour. 

Vine proved his class as a climber winning two mountain stages in the opening week to take the overall lead in the King of the Mountains classification. 

Once the attacks started to rain down this afternoon, the Australian rider wasn’t able to live with the pace set by Richard Carapaz and was soon dropped from the lead group. Vine has a substantial lead in the mountains classification although that could change in the Sierra Nevada in the coming days. 

EVENEPOEL TEAM MAY YET PROVE HIS WEAKNESS

Remco Evenepoel

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Remco Evenepoel lost his key teammate Julian Alaphilippe on stage 11 but proved that he was more than capable of handling affairs on the steep gradients of the Peñas Blancas with minimal support.

Enric Mas (Movistar) in third place looked to launch an attack when the climb began but Evenepoel was able to match him with ease. The young Belgian has won countless week-long stage races as well as monuments and put in a performance full of maturity this afternoon. 

Today was a great opportunity to put him under pressure but his resilience and racing nous will leave others clutching at straws as to how they can isolate him in the rest of the race. And if it even matters if they do.

SOUTHERN SPAIN HAS SUFFERED IN BAKING HOT TEMPERATURES

Vuelta a Espana peloton

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Television pictures this afternoon showed just how much the local region of Sierra Bermeja has suffered in the soaring temperatures of the 2022 summer. 

In 2021, the region was badly affected by huge wildfires which burnt out large majorities of woodland and forests that once covered the steep slopes. 

Before the Vuelta got underway, Luis Ángel Maté of Euskaltel-Euskadi drew attention to the natural disaster that his home had unfortunately suffered and his efforts to raise money to re-plant the local area. 

The pictures of stage 12 demonstrated the extent of the damage as dry fields, sparsely populated with trees were clearly very visible.  

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