Reigning champion Primoz Roglic took the red jersey with an impressive success on the opening stage of the Vuelta a Espana.

After losing out on Tour de France glory to Tadej Pogacar in dramatic fashion in September, Roglic quickly laid down a marker in the final Grand Tour of the year.

The Slovenian attacked on the category one ascent of the Alto de Arrate – the final test on the 173-kilometre stage from Irun to Eibar – and beat Richard Carapaz to the line to take a five-second lead in the General Classification.

Only eight riders managed to stay within 10 seconds of Roglic, with Jumbo-Visma team-mate Tom Dumoulin and 2009 champion Alejandro Valverde – both considered among the other contenders for glory in Spain – already over a minute behind in the GC.

Roglic said: "It's nice to win. I'm really happy. The team showed again that they're all really strong. They worked perfectly through the whole stage and in the end I was able to win so it's a beautiful start.

"It was already hard before the final climb, and then we were going full gas. We have crazy guys like Sepp [Kuss] and I'm just happy to win it in the end.

"It's a strange season so I'll just enjoy the leader's jersey, starting from tomorrow, and the fact that we're racing."

Thibaut Pinot lost over 10 minutes, while Chris Froome, contesting his final Grand Tour with INEOS, finished more than 11 minutes back.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 4:22:34
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS) +00:01
3. Daniel Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +00:01
4. Jhoan Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) +00:01
5. Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) +00:01

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification  

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 04:22:24
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS) +00:05
3. Daniel Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +00:07 

Points Classification  

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 25
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS) 20
3. Daniel Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 16 

King of the Mountains

1. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) 10
2. Quentin Jauregui (AG2R La Mondiale) 6
3. Enric Mas (Movistar) 6 

WHAT'S NEXT? 

The 151.6km ride from Pamplona to Lekunberri includes three categorised climbs, the last of which lasts for 9.4km at an average gradient of 7.9 per cent.

Jan Tratnik won a gruelling stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia to taste victory on a Grand Tour for the first time.

Continuing a recent theme of Slovenian success, Tratnik showed his grit with a dogged ride on the punishing 229-kilometre route from Udine to San Daniele del Friuli.

The undulating course featured several sharp climbs, including a section towards the end with a 20 per cent gradient at Via Sottomonte.

But none of that could derail the Bahrain-McLaren rider, as Tratnik followed in the footsteps of compatriots Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic in sealing a podium spot at one of the sport's three headline events.

"I was feeling good, sometimes the best defence is attacking," said Tratnik of his sprint for the line.

"When it's steep like this, sometimes everyone has spent energy, so it was good."

He is not in contention to be on the podium at the end of the race, now in its third week, with Deceuninck-Quick-Step Joao Almeida still leading the way in the General Classification.

Indeed, the Portuguese extended his advantage over Team Sunweb's Wilco Kelderman, who is now 17 seconds back.

Tratnik's joy followed a great deal of suffering as he joined the 28-man breakaway before going solo with around 40km remaining.

Despite the efforts of Ben O’Connor and Ben Swift to chase him down, the 30-year-old held firm to cross the line seven seconds clear of the former.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-McLaren) 06:04:36
2. Ben O'Connor (NTT Pro Cycling) +00:07
3. Enrico Battaglin (Bahrain-McLaren) +01:14
4. Kamil Malecki (CCC Team) +01:14
5. Ben Swift (Team INEOS) +01:14

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification 
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 65:45:08
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:17
3. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +02:58

Points Classification 
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 221
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 90

King of the Mountains 
1. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 148
2. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 118
3. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 48

WHAT'S NEXT?

Stage 17 takes the riders on a 203km route from Bassano del Grappa to Madonna di Campiglio, with a summit finish in store to test tired legs.

Primoz Roglic goes into the Vuelta a Espana as favourite to defend his title, with Chris Froome among a strong group of challengers after the Briton was left out of the Tour de France.

Tadej Pogacar beat Roglic by 59 seconds to win the Tour last month as the Slovenian duo recorded a remarkable one-two for their country.

Roglic, who has reached the podium at all three Grand Tours, goes into the Vuelta as the man to beat, having won by two minutes and 33 seconds over Alejandro Valverde in 2019.

Froome, Valverde, Tom Dumoulin, Richard Carapaz, Thibaut Pinot and Enric Mas will all be hoping to challenge.

Ahead of the event, which starts with a stage from Irun to Arrate on Tuesday and runs until November 8 with the finish in Madrid, we take a look at the biggest talking points with the help of Opta data.

A DIFFERENT YEAR

As well as clashing with the conclusion of the Giro d'Italia, which runs until October 25, due to coronavirus-related rescheduling, this year's Vuelta has some other key differences.

For the first time since 1985 there will be fewer than 21 stages, with just 18 in the 2020 race across a 2,882-kilometre route.

Irun will host the start of the race for the time, while it was 1961 when La Vuelta last began in the Basque Country.

SPANISH DOMINANCE WANING

Historically, home riders have thrived at the Vuelta, with Spanish participants winning on 32 of the 74 occasions the race has been run. France and Belgium are the next best nations on nine and seven respectively.

However, a Spaniard has not taken the red jersey since Alberto Contador triumphed in 2014, the country's longest drought since 1992-1997 (six races).

The dry spell came after Spanish riders had won eight of the first 10 Vueltas in this century. Now, Contador's 2012 and 2014 wins are their only triumphs in the last 10.

On the plus side, a Spanish rider has won a stage at every Vuelta apart from in 1996.

THE CHALLENGE FACING ROGLIC

Roglic is looking to defend his crown, but no rider as achieved that at this race since Roberto Heras' triumphs between 2003 and 2005. The Team Jumbo-Visma star also faces some stiff competition. 

INEOS Grenadiers rider Froome is the last rider to have won multiple editions of La Vuelta, doing it so in 2011 and 2017 – the longest span between two wins among all riders with multiple titles. 

He will now look to join Heras (four wins), Tony Rominger (three) and Contador (three) among the Vuelta greats.

Valverde has finished on the Vuelta podium a remarkable seven times in 13 appearances (2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2019), the most of all time.

He has 10 top-five finishes, although 2009 was his only win. This will be the veteran's 14th participation, more than any other active rider.

Mas finished second in his last outing in 2018, when he also finished as best young rider.

The Movistar rider comes into the race with some form – he was fifth at the Tour and came second in the young riders classification behind only the yellow jersey winner Pogacar.

Pinot has been in the top 10 in each of the two Vueltas he has managed to finish, though he has abandoned in a Grand Tour seven times, which is more often than he has reached the end (six).

Dumoulin has been in the top 10 in each of the last five grand tours he finished, while Carapraz has two major top-five results to his name, though is yet to finish higher than 18th in Spain. 

POINTS JERSEY UP FOR GRABS

Roglic and Froome won the points jersey as well as the overall classification in their 2019 and 2017 triumphs – prior to those doubles, that feat had not been achieved since 2000.

Along with the challengers for overall glory, sprinters Sam Bennett and Pascal Ackermann are among the top contenders for that honour at this event.

Irishman Bennett has seven stage wins at Grand Tours, while German Ackermann won the points classification in the only previous Grand Tour he took part in, the 2019 Giro.

Chris Froome will have "mixed emotions" when he lines up for Team INEOS for the last time at a Grand Tour during the Vuelta a Espana. 

The Kenya-born Briton has won four Tour de France titles, the Vuelta twice and the Giro d'Italia once during a decade of service with the team, although all those titles came under their previous guise of Team Sky. 

Next year, the 35-year-old will ride for Israel Start-Up Nation and Froome concedes it has not fully sunk in he will no longer be at INEOS. 

"It is a sort of bag of mixed emotions really. It is suddenly strange thinking that I won't be in INEOS colours in a few months' time," he said.  

"But after 11 years it's all coming down to the Vuelta again. It is a race that I genuinely enjoy racing.  

"This year's edition is going to be quite different. It is not the typical Vuelta in mid-summer, August, in Spain.  

"We're at much cooler temperatures. It's going to feel a lot more like Pays Basque for three weeks, I think, up here.  

"But I am looking forward to racing and looking forward to finishing my time at INEOS on a high hopefully.  

"We have got a great team here to support Richard [Carapaz] as much as possible. And yeah just take it one day at a time and hopefully finish off on a high note." 

Froome has not truly returned to top form since suffering a serious and season-ending crash at the Criterium du Dauphine in June 2019, while the coronavirus pandemic caused several events to be cancelled or postponed this year. 

Such lengthy time away from the roads is a challenge, Froome admitted. 

"Certainly, given the amount of time off after my injury last year and the amount of time off with COVID earlier this season, I was extremely light on racing and I felt I really missed that," he added.  

"I missed the race speed, I missed just being in the peloton and having to stay on the wheels. I felt as if that took a lot more out of me than it typically would. 

"So a lot of this process has been just getting back up to speed again and getting used to that race rhythm and trying to find some more of that top-end, if you like.  

"But I feel as if I have certainly closed that gap quite recently and it will be interesting to see how far off I am once we get into the guts of this Vuelta." 

Tao Geoghegan Hart claimed a first Grand Tour stage victory to propel himself into maglia rosa contention at the Giro d'Italia.

Geoghegan Hart is now fourth in the general classification standings after he stuck with Team Sunweb duo Wilco Kelderman and Jai Hindley inside the final 10 kilometres of the 185km stage 15 on Sunday.

The 25-year-old then put on the afterburners in the last kilometre, out-sprinting his rivals to clinch Team INEOS Grenadiers' fifth stage victory of this year's Giro, which is still led by Joao Almeida.

INEOS' former team director Nicolas Portal died in March this year and Geoghegan Hart dedicated the triumph to him.

"This one was for Nico Portal, we lost him this spring and I think it's been really difficult for the team," he said.

"This is something incredible for me. I don't know about [the GC], I haven't seen the results, but crossing the line first is something truly incredible.

"We've had some great highs this season but also some big lows in the Tour, for me personally and in this race."

Deceuninck – Quick-Step's Almeida finished fourth and still holds the overall lead, with a 15-second advantage over Kelderman.

Hindley is just under three minutes back, a second ahead of Geoghegan Hart.

Two-time Giro winner Vincenzo Nibali lost over two minutes on the final climb, with the Italian down at seventh in the GC, while Giovanni Visconti took the maglia azzurra off Ruben Guerreiro.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS) 04:58:52
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:02
3. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) + 00:04
4. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) +00:37
5. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +01:22

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification 
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 59:27:38
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:15
3. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +02:56

Points Classification 
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 221
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 90

King of the Mountains 
1. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 118
2. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 87
3. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 48

WHAT'S NEXT?

A final rest day is coming up on Monday, with another climbing route from Udine to San Daniele del Fruili making up stage 16 on Tuesday.

Filippo Ganna claimed his third stage win at this year's Giro d'Italia as Joao Almeida extended his overall lead on Saturday. 

Italian Ganna excelled on stage 14 - an individual time trial spanning 34.1 kilometres - to continue an impressive campaign in his home race, crossing the line in 42 minutes and 40 seconds. 

Rohan Dennis was 26 seconds slower over the course to claim an INEOS 1-2, while the rest of the field were over a minute back on the world time-trial champion. 

"Every victory is important for me, we have a really strong team," Ganna - who was also victorious in the opening time trial, as well as stage five - said after his latest success. 

Almeida, meanwhile, claimed sixth place to tighten his grip on the pink jersey, albeit there is still plenty of racing to go before the finish in Milan. 

Still, the Portuguese rider extended his advantage for a second successive day; he now sits 56 seconds clear of nearest rival Wilco Kelderman, who was ninth on the stage. 

"I did better than I thought, I'm so happy with the result," Almeida - who has worn the maglia rosa since the third day - said. "In the end, it was a positive day." 

Pello Bilbao remains third in the standings but Brandon McNulty is now just behind him, the American moving up thanks to a third-place finish as he sits in front of Vincenzo Nibali, Rafal Majka and Domenico Pozzovivo, who are all within 30 seconds of the podium places.

STAGE RESULT

1. Filippo Ganna (INEOS) 42:40
2. Rohan Dennis (INEOS) +00:26
3. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) + 01:09
4. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) +01:11
5. Josef Cerny (CCC) +01:16

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 54:28:09
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:56
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +02:11

Points Classification
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 221
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 83

King of the Mountains
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 87
2. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 76
3. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 48

WHAT'S NEXT?

Stage 15 could see changes in the general classification as the race climbs into the mountains during the 185km-ride to Piancavallo. Those looking to make a move will know they have a rest day to follow on Monday, too.

Joao Almeida extended his lead in the Giro d'Italia as Diego Ulissi triumphed on stage 13.

Ulissi claimed the eighth Giro stage win of his career as he outsprinted Almeida at the end of a 192-kilometre ride from Cervia to Monselice.

Almeida's efforts saw him pick up six bonus seconds, stretching his General Classification advantage to 40 seconds over Wilco Kelderman.

Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) was third, while Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) saw his hopes vanish.

Demare, winner of four stages this year, could not keep pace after the peloton was split into three on a short final climb and eventually finished 41 seconds off the pace.

While Demare still holds a healthy lead in the battle for the Maglia Ciclamino, he is over two minutes behind Almeida in the GC standings with eight stages to go.

Speaking after his victory, Ulissi - who also won stage two - conceded another success in this Giro had not been in his thoughts.

"We did a great job on the last climb and the team set-up me up perfectly. We dropped the sprinters and reduced the peloton to a small group," said Ulissi. 

"I was tired after doing the climb so fast but [team-mate Brandon] McNulty was fantastic in the way he led it out. I saw I'd got my wheel ahead and won. I've been on form all season. I didn't expect to win another stage but it’s a great feeling."

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) 04:22:18
2. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:00
3. Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) +00:00
4. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS) +00:00
5. Mikkel Frolich Honore (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:00

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 53:43:58
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:40
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:49

Points Classification
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 221
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 78

King of the Mountains
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 87
2. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 76
3. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 45

WHAT'S NEXT?

Saturday sees the riders tackle a challenging 34.1km time trial from Conegliano to Valdobbiadene, which features one categorised climb and a maximum gradient of 19 per cent on the Muro di Ca' del Poggio.

Jhonatan Narvaez triumphed in difficult conditions on stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia to seal a third victory of the race for Team INEOS.

Time-trial specialist Filippo Ganna has claimed two stage wins for the team and Narvaez completed the hat-trick on Thursday by attacking on the final climbs.

The Ecuadorian broke clear of the chasing pack along with Mark Padun but the Bahrain-McLaren rider had a mechanical issue with around 23 kilometres to go and needed to change bike.

Narvaez rallied for his maiden Grand Tour stage victory as he finished clear of Padun in Cesenatico, where rain fell during the majority of the 204km leg.

"This feels so good because it was a really hard stage with the cold and the rain," Narvaez said post-race.

"I'm happy because we've been working really hard before the Giro, then to try to get into the breakaway and to stay well and recover every day.

"Padun had a flat tyre and my sports director said to wait for him a little. But the race was fast and so I kept the pace. I knew the gap and kept going to the end.

"It means a lot for any professional rider to win here at the Giro d'Italia and especially so for me."

EF Pro Cycling's Simon Clarke took third place, while Joseph Rosskopf (CCC Team) and Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli–Sidermec) completed the top five.

There was no change at the top of the general classification as Joao Almeida kept hold of the maglia rosa.

Despite being put under pressure, the Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider retained his 34-second lead over Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb).

STAGE RESULT

1. Jhonatan Narvaez (Team INEOS) 05:31:24
2. Mark Padun (Bahrain-McLaren) +01:08
3. Simon Clarke (EF Pro Cycling) +06:50
4. Joseph Rosskopf (CCC Team) +07:30
5. Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli–Sidermec) +07.43

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 49:21:46
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:34
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:43

Points Classification
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 220
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 51

King of the Mountains
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 84
2. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 76
3. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 45

WHAT'S NEXT?

Friday's stage 13 will be contested over 192km and is a sprinter's run from Cervia to Monselice, featuring some testing hurdles across a 40km stretch to the finish line.

Arnaud Demare clinched his fourth stage win of the 2020 Giro d'Italia to increase his points classification lead as he pipped Peter Sagan in a tense finish in Rimini on Wednesday.

On the unusually flat stage 11 along the Adriatic coast, Demare (Groupama-FDJ) produced a consistent performance that allowed for him to enjoy a late burst to add to his wins on stages four, six and seven.

Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) had looked to be on course for a second successive stage win after his first ever in the Giro on Tuesday, but his decision making in the final stages ultimately cost him.

While he initially opted to focus on following Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) with less than 300 metres to go, Demare squeezed ahead and crossed the line a full length clear of Sagan.

Demare keeps hold of the Maglia Ciclamino, while Joao Almedia remains in control in the general classification battle with a 34-second lead, as the top three stayed out of trouble on a 182-kilometre route that was set up for the sprinters.

Frenchman Demare paid tribute to his team-mates, saying: "Impressive, really impressive. They had to bring the breakaway back and set a really high pace.

"It feels amazing. Of course, I didn't think I could get four stages here. I was looking for a stage win and I'm so happy.

"I really want to congratulate the whole team because it's their victory as well. They believed in me, everyone has worked really hard and the work is paying off."

Following Tuesday's spate of coronavirus-enforced withdrawals, there was an air of uncertainty heading into stage 11, but it was business as usual once the action started.

UAE Team Emirates and Cofidis looked dangerous in the mid-section but the latter were hamstrung shortly after the breakaway split with around 36km to go – Elia Viviani sent tumbling as a motorbike clipped him from behind.

In the latter stages Deceuninck-Quick-Step, UAE Team Emirates and INEOS Grenadiers riders came to the fore as Sander Armee (Lotto Soudal) began to flag at the front.

Demare and company arrived at the scene late on, and although they briefly lost the lead with under 2km to go, Miles Scotson and Jacopo Guarnieri expertly launched their team-mate to seal a dramatic win.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 04:03:52
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) +00:00
3. Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:00
4. Simone Consonni (Cofidis) +00:00
5. Rick Zabel (Israel Start-Up Nation) +00:00

CLASSIFICATION STANDING

General Classification 
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 43:41:57
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:34
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:43

Points Classification 
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 220
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) 51

King of the Mountains 
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 84
2. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 76
3. Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS Grenadiers), Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) 45

WHAT'S NEXT?

Stage 12 sees the riders start and finish in the port town of Cesenatico, with the 204km route seeing them head into the mountainous hinterlands.

Peter Sagan produced a stunning solo display to win a chaotic 10th stage of the Giro d'Italia.

The Bora-Hansgrohe rider earned the first Giro stage victory of his decorated career with a daring effort on the 177-kilometre route from Lanciano to Tortoreto.

Deceuninck-Quick-Step's Joao Almeida extended his lead at the top of the general classification to 34 seconds on a day that started with a spate of coronavirus-enforced withdrawals.

It was not a happy outing for Jakob Fuglsang as he lost over a minute to Almeida, the Astana rider suffering a mechanical to fall well off the pace.

Despite Sagan's triumph, which means he has now taken stage honours at each of the Grand Tours, Arnaud Demare still has hold of the Maglia Ciclamino.

"I'm very happy, finally," said Sagan. "I've been trying since when we started the season again with Strade Bianche, San Remo, the Tour de France – I was a lot of time on the podium or top five but my last victory was last year in the Tour de France, already a long time ago.

"For sure I did not have the plan [to go solo]. When I already accepted second, third, fourth place, and I let it go and I don't try anymore – and now the victory comes. I'm very happy for that.

"Finally, I won in my style, I do the race, do some show, take the victory – it's something special."

Sagan was aggressive from the outset, leading a breakaway that was at one point five minutes ahead of the peloton.

Rain and a devilish course made for drama aplenty, but Almeida kept himself out of trouble to maintain a firm grip on his Maglia Rosa amid a chasing pack that was disrupted by sporadic breaks.

INEOS Grenadiers rider Ben Swift had been the only man to keep pace with Sagan heading into the last 20km, but the Slovakian proved too strong for the Briton.

The three-time world champion negotiated some horrendously steep climbs and a nerve-wracking descent in the wet to cross the line 19 seconds ahead of nearest rival Brandon McNulty.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 04:01:56
2. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) +00:19
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:23
4. Ben Swift (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:23
5. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +00:23

CLASSIFICATION STANDING

General Classification 
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 39:38:05
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:34
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:43

Points Classification 
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 167
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 147
3. Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) 51

King of the Mountains 
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 84
2. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 76
3. Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS Grenadiers), Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) 45

WHAT'S NEXT?

Stage 11 sees the riders continue up the Adriatic coast on a relatively flat 182km route from Porto Sant'Elpidio to Rimini.

The Giro d'Italia has been hit by a spate of coronavirus-enforced withdrawals after the Mitchelton-Scott team, Steven Kruijswijk and Michael Matthews all pulled out.

Mitchelton-Scott, who saw Adam Yates test positive before stage eight, took the decision to abandon the race after four members of staff contracted the virus.

"As a social responsibility we've made the decision to withdraw," said Mitchelton-Scott boss Brent Copeland.

It comes after 571 tests conducted over October 11-12 also showed title contender Kruijswijk had caught COVID-19, with the Jumbo-Visma rider having sat 11th, one minute and 24 seconds off the pace set by Joao Almeida.

In addition, Team Sunweb's Matthews tested positive ahead of stage 10, along with staff members at Team AG2R-La Mondiale and Team INEOS.

Ruben Guerreiro won stage nine of the Giro d'Italia in miserable conditions and Joao Almeida kept the maglia rosa on a memorable day for Portuguese cycling.

Guerreiro had enough in the tank at the end of a 208-kilometre route from San Salvo to Roccaraso to sprint away from Jonathan Castroviejo for a maiden Grand Tour stage victory.

The 26-year-old takes over as the leader of the king of the mountains battle and is only the second rider from Portugal to win a Giro stage, Acacio Da Silva having crossed the line first five times in the 1980s.

Guerreiro secured EF Pro Cycling's second stage win of the 2020 edition of the race, having been among five breakaway riders in the rain on Sunday.

He reacted when Castroviejo went on the attack and had the pace to go clear of the INEOS Grenadiers rider in an uphill finish after a tough final climb of almost 10km and won by a margin of eight seconds.

Mikkel Bjerg was third, finishing 58 seconds after Guerreiro, with Kilian Frankiny and Larry Warbasse completing the top five.

Guerreiro's compatriot Almeida continues to lead the race, but his advantage was reduced to 30 seconds.

Wilco Kelderman is up to second behind Deceuninck-Quick-Step's Almeida, who started the day with an advantage of 43 seconds over Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren).

Bilbao gained four seconds on Almeida, who will no doubt be ready for a day off on Monday, the first rest day.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 05:41:20
2. Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:08
3. Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) +00:58
4. Kilian Frankiny (Groupama–FDJ) 01:16
5. Larry Warbasse (AG2R La Mondiale) 01:16

CLASSIFICATION STANDING

General Classification 
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 35:35:50
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:30
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:39

Points Classification 
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 167
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 110
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) 87

King of the Mountains 
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 84
2. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 76
3.Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS Grenadiers) 45

WHAT'S NEXT?

A rest day awaits the riders on Monday before they take on a 177km 10th stage from Lanciano to Tortoreto, with five sharp ascents to come in the final 65km.

Alex Dowsett secured Israel Start-Up Nation their first stage win at the Giro d'Italia with a sensational ride to Vieste on Saturday.

The Englishman pulled clear of the breakaway group and called upon his time-trial experience to sustain a clear lead to the finish line.

Dowsett, who broke track cycling's world hour record back in 2015, had endured a "nightmare" start to the day when he tweeted his disgust at having mistakenly brushed his teeth before remembering he had not finished his morning coffee, adding: "I really hope the day picks up."

His timing could not have been better out on the 200-kilometre ride from Giovinazzo to Vieste, as he attacked the front after a six-rider breakaway with around 16km to go.

Dowsett stretched his lead to close to 30 seconds at the bell and the gap was at a massive 75 seconds by the time he crossed the line for his second Giro stage win and the first for his team.

Salvatore Puccio took second ahead of Matthew Holmes and Joseph Rosskopf after a short sprint for the line.

The peloton had long since turned attention towards Sunday's stage, with the general classification standings largely unaffected by what was going on further ahead.

Joao Almeida, who finished 17th, retains a 43-second lead at the top of the GC over Pello Bilbao.

STAGE RESULT

1. Alex Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation) 04:50:09
2. Salvatore Puccio (Team INEOS) +01:15
3. Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal) same time
4. Joseph Rosskopf (CCC Team) same time
5. Mathias Brandle (Israel Cycling Academy) + 02:10

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification 
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 29:52:34
2. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:43
3. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:48

Points Classification 
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 163
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 107
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) 87

King of the Mountains 
1. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 41
2. Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling) 40
3. Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal) 20

WHAT'S NEXT?

Sunday's stage nine is a more arduous 208km from San Salvo to Roccaraso, which includes the steep climb to Passo Lanciano before the long ascent to the finish, as the riders move away from the coast and into the Apennine mountains.

Simon Yates has been withdrawn from the Giro d'Italia after testing positive for COVID-19. 

The Mitchelton-Scott rider had been three minutes and 52 seconds behind Joao Almeida, who holds the maglia rosa after seven stages. 

Yates began displaying "very mild" symptoms after the seventh stage and has returned two positive tests, his team announced. 

Team doctor Matteo Beltemacchi said: "Simon displayed a very mild temperature on Friday evening during our routine temperature checks, which have been completed three times per day during the course of the Giro d'Italia. 

"Following the team's RACESAFE COVID-19 policy, he was isolated in his room and we immediately requested a rapid test using the services offering by the RCS, which has returned positive.  

"Simon's health remains our main concern and, thankfully, his symptoms remain very mild and he is otherwise in good health. We want to thank the RCS for their support in arranging the quick testing and his transport. 

"All other riders and staff have returned negative results and have been cleared to continue the race, but as a precautionary measure we will monitor the situation closely and undergo further testing in the coming days."

Arnaud Demare made it a hat-trick of Giro d'Italia stage wins with a stunning show of speed at the end of Friday's leg.

The Groupama-FDJ rider had the legs to take the sprint at the end of a rapid and eventful 143-kilometre route from Matera to Brindisi.

It tightened the Frenchman's grip on the Maglia Ciclamino, with Peter Sagan beaten into second place again, while Michael Matthews was third.

There was no change at the top of the general classification as Joao Almeida kept hold of his Maglia Rosa.

Riders had to contend with a persistent crosswind on a stage in which road furniture also played a part.

There were several crashes, with a significant one happening as the road narrowed under the banner that marked 45km to go.

It split the peloton as several riders were left lagging behind, although the race at the front was effectively neutralised to allow the chasing pack to close the gap.

The finish was similarly untidy as teams struggled to get their sprint trains in order, but Demare's rivals had no answer when he darted for the line inside the closing stretch.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 02:47:28
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) same time
4. Ben Swift (Team INEOS) same time
5. Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 24:48:29
2. Pelle Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:43
3. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:48

Points Classification
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 161
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 106
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) 83

King of the Mountains
1. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 41
2. Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling) 40
3. Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT Pro Cycling) 19

WHAT'S NEXT?

Saturday's stage takes the riders on a 200km route from Giovinazzo to Vieste, with a tough climb around the midway point marking a significantly more difficult second half after a flat start.

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