Alejandro Valverde Wins “Wall Climbing” at Mas de la Costa
Wow ! Stage 7 of Vuelta a Espana 2019, Friday (August 30), was truly thrilling. Four top- ranked general classifications (GC) compete for championship on the very steep last climb, Alto Mas de la Costa. After sticking together for about 4 km, in the end the 39-year-old world champion, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), emerged victorious.
You could say, Valverde won “wall climbing.” The total length of this stage was 183.2 km, but that last climb was the main attraction. Alto Mas de la Costa is only 4.1 km in length, but has an average slope of 12.3 percent. The last kilometer is creepy, reaching 19 percent!
On this last climb, there are actually ten heroes separating themselves from the platoon. But not long, only four main hero left. Valverde, his teammates Nairo Quintana, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
Practically, these four racers continue together. Line up in twos, sometimes line up in fours.
The last 200 meters, Valverde made a strong acceleration. Only Roglic is able to compensate. Valverde also won the ” sprint ” towards the finish line, Roglic finished attached to it. Miguel Angel Lopez and Nairo Quintana were only seconds away.
With this result, practically the four drivers are the main candidates overall champion at La Vuelta 2019. Miguel Angel Lopez is again wearing the red jersey as the leader of the GC standings, but this time only six seconds ahead of Roglic. Valverde and Quintana are in the order of three and four, respectively 16 and 27 seconds behind.
Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), who stole the red jersey after Stage 6 last Thursday (August 29), was unable to compete in the last 30 km. He was scattered far in the finish line.
After a few “painful” days, Stage 8 this Saturday (August 31) should provide a more relaxed menu for GC champions. There is only one significant climb on the 166.9 km stage, namely Puerto de Montserrat, 27 km before finishing. After that the derivative and flat road to finish. This is the stage for sprinters , so the GC champions only need to finish safely on the platoon. (riding bicycle)
Stage 7 Results of Vuelta a Espana 2019 (Top Ten)
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spain) Movistar Team 4:34:11
2. Primoz Roglic (Slovenia) Team Jumbo-Visma 4:34:11
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Colombia) Astana Pro Team 4:34:17
4. Nairo Quintana (Colombia) Movistar Team 4:34:17
5. Rafal Majka (Poland) Bora-Hansgrohe 4:34:53
6. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spain) Astana Pro Team 4:34:59
7. Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia) UAE Emirates Team 4:35:02
8. Fabio Aru (Italy) UAE Team Emirates 4:35:02
9. George Bennett (New Zealand) Team Jumbo-Visma 4:35:18
10. Oscar Rodriguez (Spain) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias 4:35:31
General Classification after 7 of 21 Stage
1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Colombia) Astana Pro Team 28:19:13
2. Primoz Roglic (Slovenia) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:06
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spain) Movistar Team 0:00:16
4. Nairo Quintana (Colombia) Movistar Team 0:00:27
5. Rafal Majka (Poland) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:58
6. Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia) UAE Emirates Team 0:02:36
7. Esteban Chaves (Colombia) Mitchelton-Scott 0:02:52
8. George Bennett (New Zealand) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:03:34
9. Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands) Sunweb Team 0:03:36
10. Fabio Aru (Italy) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:36