Primoz Roglic clinched a second successive Vuelta a Espana title by finishing the processional stage safely as Pascal Ackermann won a photo finish in Madrid.

Roglic lost time on stage 17 on Saturday but not enough to take the red jersey from him, the Slovenian effectively ensuring he would retain the title.

His victory was confirmed in the Spanish capital, where a thrilling sprint saw a dramatic conclusion to the 18th and final stage of the last race of the season.

Bora Hansgrohe led matters going into the final kilometre of the 139.6km route and it was they who were celebrating at the finish as Ackermann edged Sam Bennett on the line.

Roglic also takes the green points jersey, with Guillaume Martin named King of the Mountains.

"It is beautiful to finish the season like this," Roglic told Eurosport. 

"I always say every time when you win it's beautiful. It's really hard. It's impossible to compare [the two titles]."


STAGE RESULT

1. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 3:28:13
2. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) Same time
3. Max Kanter (Sunweb) Same time
4. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) Same time
5. Jasha Sutterlin (Sunweb) Same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 72:46:12
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:24
3. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +01:15

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 204
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 133
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 111

King of the Mountains

1. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) 99
2. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 34
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 30

Primoz Roglic will retain his Vuelta a Espana title in Madrid on Sunday despite Richard Carapaz threatening to inflict more penultimate-stage heartbreak on the Slovenian.

David Gaudu stormed up La Covatilla to claim a magnificent second stage victory of this year's Vuelta, but it was further down the mountain where the drama was unfolding.

Roglic started a brutal, decisive stage 17 on Saturday with a 45-second lead over Carapaz, but the Jumbo-Visma rider was in danger of losing the red jersey on a gruelling final climb to a mountain-top finish.

Hugh Carthy, third in the General Classification standings, made a move with 4.5km to go, yet Roglic and Carapaz reacted and were able to follow the Brit again when he burst away for a second time.

Roglic and Carthy could not catch Ecuadorian climber Carapaz when he decided the time had come to make one massive final push to try and win the race 3km from the end of the gruelling 178.2km stage from Sequeros.

A shattered Roglic looked to be in trouble as he faded and was left isolated as INEOS Grenadiers rider Carapaz darted up the mountain, with the leader struggling on the steeper sections.

Carthy also moved away from Roglic, but the reigning champion dug deep to cross the line 21 seconds after Carapaz, who will have to settle for second place.

Roglic endured the agony of sensationally losing his Tour de France lead to Tadej Pogacar on the decisive stage in September, but he was not to be denied on this occasion despite the best efforts of Carapaz in an enthralling battle.

A second Grand Tour title will be Rogic's at the end of a 124.4km flat processional ride from Hipodromo de la Zarzuela to Madrid on Sunday.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) 4:54:32
2. Gino Mader (NTT) +00:28
3. Ion Izagirre (Astana) +01:05
4. David de la Cruz (UAE Team Emirates) +01:05
5. Mark Donovan (Sunweb) +01:53

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 64:20:31
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:24
3. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +00:47

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 204
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 133
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 111

King of the Mountains

1. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) 99
2. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 34
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 30

Primoz Roglic boosted his lead in the Vuelta a Espana ahead of Saturday's brutal penultimate stage that will determine the race winner.

Before they tackle a day in the mountains, where so much could yet change, Roglic finished runner-up on stage 16 to Magnus Cort Nielsen in a sprint finish in Ciudad Rodrigo.

Slovenian Roglic picked up six bonus seconds for his efforts, allowing him to swell his lead to 45 seconds over Richard Carapaz.

Cort Nielsen (EF Pro Cycling) recovered from COVID-19 to return to training three weeks before the Vuelta began, and he found a gap in the bunch hurtling towards the finish line to edge ahead of the field.

Roglic closely tracked him, finding a strong burst himself at the end of the 162-kilometre ride from Salamanca.

A purposeful break from Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott) and Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) had earlier seen the escapees build a lead of around five minutes over the peloton.

Cavagna went it alone inside the final 20 kilometres in a bold solo bid, with the last of the hills out of the way, and he led a steadily closing pack by 15 seconds with five kilometres remaining.

But the Frenchman could not stay in front as the peloton worked together, and he had been swallowed up with two kilometres remaining, setting up the dash for the line.

STAGE RESULT

1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Pro Cycling) 4:04:35
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) same time
3. Dion Smith (Mitchelton-Scott) same time
4. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) same time
5. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 64:20:31
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:45
3. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +00:53

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 198
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 123
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 111

King of the Mountains

1. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) 89
2. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 34
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 30

What's next?

The 178.2km ride from Sequeros to the mountaintop finish at Alto de La Covatilla on Saturday will determine the winner of La Vuelta. There are tough climbs awaiting the riders from the early stages in the saddle, as they chase glory ahead of Sunday's processional finale, when they take the road to Madrid.

Jasper Philipsen took the honours at the end of a stage fought amid miserable conditions at the Vuelta a Espana.

For Thursday's 15th stage, the riders took on the 230.8-kilometre slog from Mos to Puebla de Sanabria into a near-relentless headwind, with long spells of rain adding to the difficulty.

Deceuninck-Quick Step's Mattia Cattaneo had the lead up and over the final climb of a long day, with riders in the saddle for more than six hours, but the Italian was swallowed up by the chasing pack.

It was Philipsen who had the legs to provide the strongest sprint finish, the UAE Team Emirates star surging nearly a full bike length clear of German duo Pascal Ackermann and Jannik Steimle, who joined him on the podium.

Organisers neutralised the General Classification late on, with timings for the overall standings taken 3km from the finish.

That meant there was no change at the business end of things, with Primoz Roglic still leading the GC ahead of Richard Carapaz and Hugh Carthy.

The win for Philipsen will exorcise the demons of his agonising near-miss on stage four, when he was overtaken on the line by Sam Bennett.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) 6:22:36
2. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time
3. Jannik Steimle (Deceuninck-Quick Step) same time
4. Fred Wright (Bahrain-McLaren) same time
5. Dion Smith (Mitchelton-Scott) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 60:19:41
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:39
3. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +00:47

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 178
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 113
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 111

King of the Mountains

1. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) 89
2. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 34
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 30

What's next?

The riders take on the 162km route from Salamanca to Ciudad Rodrigo on stage 16. It's a hilly one with a category-one climb around 30km from the finish line.

Tim Wellens claimed his second victory of the 2020 Vuelta a Espana and Primoz Roglic retained his lead of the race on Wednesday.

Wellens won stage five in Sabinanigo last month and the Belgian crossed the line first again at the end of a gruesome stage 14 in Ourense.

The Lotto Soudal rider left enough in the tank to come out on top in a sprint finish ahead of Michael Woods, Zdenek Stybar and Dylan van Baarle on the 204.7km route from Lugo

After tackling a category three climb of the Alto de Abelaira late in the stage, Marc Soler tried to go solo with 20km to go but he was reeled in.

Stybar, Wellens and Soler worked well together at the front before they were joined by Woods and Van Baarle put in some powerful late work.

It was Wellens who had the pace to double his tally of stage victories in this year's race, which Roglic is in a great position to win for the second successive year.

The Jumbo-Visma rider finished in the peloton to stay in the red jersey, which he regained with time-trial victory on Tuesday, with a 39-second advantage over Richard Carapaz.

Hugh Carthy remains 47 seconds adrift of Slovenian Roglic, who was 10th on stage 14.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 4:37:05
2. Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) same time
3. Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quick Step) same time
4. Dylan van Baarle (INEOS Grenadiers) same time
5. Marc Soler (Movistar) +00:11

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 53:57:05
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:39
3. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +00:47

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 178
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 113
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 111

King of the Mountains

1. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) 76
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 30
3. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)  28

What's next?

Breakaways will be expected on long, demanding 230.8 km 15th stage from Mos to Puebla de Sanabria on Thursday, with the peloton likely to have their work cut out trying to contain riders who escape on a winding route.

Primoz Roglic urged his Jumbo-Visma team to maintain their focus after he reclaimed the lead of the Vuelta a Espana with victory in a stage 13 time trial on Tuesday.

Defending champion Roglic won his fourth stage of this edition of the race on the 33.7 kilometre route, which started in Muros and finished with a steep climb up to the Mirador de Ezaro.

Roglic clocked a time of 46 minutes and 39 seconds, edging Will Barta by one second, to take a 39-second lead in the battle for the red jersey.

Richard Carapaz of INEOS Grenadiers, who started the day leading the General Classification, is second after finishing the stage 49 seconds back in seventh.

Despite his advantage, Roglic is taking little for granted ahead of the final five stages.

"I felt strong - surprising. I thought I'd suffer a lot more," said Roglic.

"Today went quite fine. We know it's not a fun thing to do the time trial, but I had the legs.

"I'd rather be 39 seconds ahead than behind, but we need to keep our focus."

STAGE RESULT

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 46:39
2. William Barta (CCC Team) +00:01
3. Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) +00:10
4. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +00:25
5. Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) +00:41

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 49:16:16
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:39
3. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +00:47

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 172
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 113
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 103

King of the Mountains

1. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) 76
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 30
3. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) 27

What's next?

A much longer challenge awaits the riders on stage 14, which is a 204.7km route from Lugo to Ourense that features a category three climb near its finish.

Hugh Carthy climbed to his maiden Grand Tour stage win on the daunting Alto de l'Angliru and Richard Carapaz took a 10-second lead in the Vuelta a Espana on Sunday.

EF Pro Cycling rider Carthy went on his own with just over a kilometre to go on the gruelling 109-kilometre 12th stage from La Pola Llaviana and went on to celebrate the biggest victory of his career.

Carapaz, Enric Mas and Aleksandr Vlasov crossed the finishing line 16 seconds after British rider Carthy, who moved up to third in the General Classification.

Primoz Roglic was unable to react when Carapaz made a move late in the stage, and so the INEOS Grenadiers rider will start the final week as the man to catch.

Jumbo-Visma's Roglic had spent three days with the same time as Carapaz, but it was the Ecuadorian who took the initiative towards the end of a testing day, taking in three category-one climbs.

Slovenian Roglic appeared to feel the strain on the steeper sections and finished fifth on the day, with Dan Martin dropping behind Carthy into fourth in the GC standings.

Breakaway riders Guillaume Martin and Luis Leon Sanchez were reeled in with 11km to go on the fearsome Angliru and it was Carthy who had enough in the tank to go it alone and pull off a magnificent win.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) 03:08:40
2. Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) +00:16
3. Enric Mas (Movistar) +00:16
4. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:16
5. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +00:26

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 48:29:27
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +00:10
3. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +00:32

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 147
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 104
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 100

King of the Mountains

1. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) 76
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 30
3. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) 27

What's next?

A rest day awaits, before Carapaz will look to extend his lead on Tuesday in a 33.7km individual time trial which will be mainly flat by the sea before a 1.5km steep climb to finish on the Mirador de Ezaro.

David Gaudu took the honours on stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana as he triumphed at the summit of the Alto de La Farrapona.

The Groupama-FDJ rider claimed his first Grand Tour stage win at the end of Saturday's 170-kilometre route from Villaviciosa.

Frenchman Gaudu held off General Classification contender Marc Soler, with the Movistar rider still looking up at Primoz Roglic, Richard Carapaz and Dan Martin in the top three of the standings.

Cofidis' Guillaume Martin and Team Sunweb duo Mark Donovan and Michael Storer rounded out the top five on the day, having gone in the breakaway and stayed clear of the peloton.

Soler's move, which saw him climb from 10th to sixth in the GC, was not considered enough of a threat for the key Vuelta contenders to waste the energy reeling him in.

The home hope is now two minutes and 44 seconds back as he seeks to improve on last year's ninth-place finish.

It proved a profitable day for Martin, too, as he strengthened his grip in the King of the Mountains classification.

STAGE RESULT

1. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) 04:54:13
2. Marc Soler (Movistar) +00:04
3. Michael Storer (Team Sunweb) +00:52
4. Mark Donovan (Team Sunweb) +00:52
5. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +00:55

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 45:20:31
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) same time
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +00:25

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 135
2. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 91
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 90

King of the Mountains

1. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) 50
2. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) 24
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 24

What's next?

More mountains await on stage 12, with three category-one climbs on Sunday's 109km slog from La Pola Llaviana to a summit finish at Alto de l'Angliru.

Defending champion Primoz Roglic surged clear to claim victory on stage 10 of the Vuelta a Espana and take the red jersey back off Richard Carapaz.

The Jumbo-Visma rider dominated the uphill finish in Friday's predominantly flat 185-kilometre stage from Castro Urdiales to Suances for his third stage victory.

Roglic moved up in Andrea Bagioli's slipstream and took 10 bonus seconds to move level with erstwhile General Classification leader Carapaz, who lost three seconds.

He takes the race jersey by virtue of his superior placings in the first 10 stages and is the favourite to retain the title he won last year.

"It's beautiful. What can I say? I'm super happy," Roglic said. "It's never easy to win but I had the legs, and it's really, really nice.

"I'm one year older and stronger. Like a wine, the older the better. I'm again in red, but it doesn't really change much for our team.

"We need to keep the momentum and the focus. A weekend in the mountains is coming, so we will do our best."

Sam Bennett was the pre-stage favourite but was dropped with 27km to go, a day after being denied victory on stage nine for barging into Emils Liepins.

Bora-Hansgrohe's Felix Grossschartner had greater success, finishing second to Roglic, while Bagioli (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) was third.

Dan Martin was one of seven other riders to be given the same time as the stage winner, meaning he is within 25 seconds of the overall race lead.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 04:14:11
2. Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time
3. Andrea Bagioli (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) same time
4. Alex Aranburu (Astana) same time
5. Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 40:25:15
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) same time
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +00:25

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 129
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 83
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 82

King of the Mountains

1. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) 27
2. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) 24
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 24

What's next?

The race moves to the mountains on Saturday as the riders make the 170km journey from Villaviciosa to Alto de la Farrapona - a stage containing four category one climbs, including the Colladona mountain pass.

Pascal Ackermann claimed victory on stage nine of the Vuelta a Espana after Sam Bennett was relegated for a shove in the final kilometre.

Tour de France points classification winner Bennett lived up to his favourite tag by seemingly powering to victory in Thursday's 157.7km leg from Castrillo del Val to Aguilar de Campoo.

However, his celebrations at what would have been the Irishman's second stage win of this year's event, were cut short as race organisers ruled Bennett was overly aggressive in the way he shoulder charged Emils Liepins.

Bora-Hansgrohe rider Ackermann started his sprint at the same time as Bennett but ultimately had less power and speed than his opponent, though in the end it was he who came out on top following a post-race review of the Liepins incident.

Jasper Philipsen tried to find a way between the pair but could not do so, the UAE Team Emirates rider finishing fifth behind Gerben Thijssen and Max Kanter, only to be pushed up by Bennett's disqualification.

"When I saw the video, it wasn't a fair action from him," Ackermann said. "I think, after all the crashes in the last week, we have to take care of the other guys. 

"If there is no hole, we have to stop. I feel sorry for Sam, but they took me out in Scheldeprijs and now we have to ride more fair. 

"I'm really happy about this victory and also for my team - they did an awesome job today, all from the front and I'm happy to give something back to them."

There was no substantial movement in terms of the General Classification as Richard Carapaz finished safely in the peloton, despite needing a bicycle change with 13km to go.

The overall race leader retains a 13-second gap on reigning champion Primoz Roglic, who dragged himself back into contention with an impressive victory on stage eight.

STAGE RESULT

1. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 03:39:55
2. Gerben Thijssen (Lotto–Soudal) same time
3. Max Kanter (Team Sunweb) same time
4. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) same time
5. Jakub Mareczko (CCC Team) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 36:11:01
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +00:13
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +00:28

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 104
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 81
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 73

King of the Mountains

1. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) 27
2. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) 24
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 24

What's next?

Friday sees the riders make the 185km journey from Castro Urdiales to Suances, a predominantly flat stage that includes a category three climb towards the end.

Reigning champion Primoz Roglic claimed his second stage victory of the 2020 Vuelta a Espana to close to gap on overall race leader Richard Carapaz. 

The Jumbo-Visma rider was involved in a tense battle with Carapaz over the final stretch of Wednesday's stage, which took the riders from Logrono to Alto de Moncalvillo. 

Roglic countered his rival with a fine late counterpunch and finished 13 seconds quicker, as well as earning 10 bonus seconds, compared to Carapaz's six. 

He is now up to second in the General Classification, 13 seconds behind the pacesetter after his remarkable stage eight win. He had begun the day 30 seconds behind. 

"It was quite a boring, slow start and the pace went up and it was super fast and harder after the second to last climb," Roglic said.

"I always like to win, so if there is a small opportunity I will take it. It was super hard today and, luckily, I had the legs and I'm happy to win the stage.  

"It's nice to get some time back but most of all it's nice to win the race." 

Israel Start-Up Nation's Daniel Martin slumped to the ground as he crossed the line in third, tightening his grip on the same position in the GC, with Hugh Carthy slipping to fourth. 


STAGE RESULT

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 04:07:08
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:13
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +00:19
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) +00:25
5. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +00:33

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 32:31:06
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +00:13
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +00:28

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 104
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 81
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 73

King of the Mountains

1. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) 27
2. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) 24
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 24

What's next?

Thursday sees the riders travel 157.7 kilometres from Castrillo del Val to Aguilar de Campoo - a flat stage that points to a sprint finish.

Michael Woods won stage seven of the Vuelta a Espana after a thrilling tussle over the closing kilometres in Villanueva de Valdegovia. 

The Canadian, who was second in Monday's sixth stage, timed his kick superbly to open a gap to Omar Fraile with just 1,000 metres left of a gripping finish. 

Astana rider Fraile had pulled clear late on as part of a cat-and-mouse chase for the line that also involved Alejandro Valverde, who finished third, and Nans Peters. 

It was Woods who emerged triumphant after proving too strong for his rivals, as he claimed a second stage win at the Vuelta at the end of a somewhat messy race from Vitoria-Gasteiz in which he led a decisive breakaway approaching the summit of the final climb. 

"That was a special day," said Woods, who won stage 17 two years ago. "I got away with those four guys, they ride super strong. I was able to sit in a bit, had a bit of luck, had the legs and managed to get the win. 

"Initially, I wasn't supposed to get in the breakaway, however, the race just got so crazy. I'm going to savour this one." 

Woods' EF Pro Cycling team-mate Hugh Carthy remains second in the General Classification, behind Richard Carapaz, who is also second in the points standings.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) 03:48:16
2. Omar Fraile (Astana) +00:04
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) same time
4. Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) +00:08
5. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 28:23:51
2. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +00:18
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +00:20

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 79
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 61
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 57

King of the Mountains

1. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) 27
2. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) 24
3. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 19

What's next?

Wednesday sees the riders depart Logrono, the Rioja region's capital, and set out on a 164km route through the mountains towards a gruelling final climb up to Alto de Moncalvillo.

Ion Izagirre claimed victory in a rain-soaked stage six of the Vuelta a Espana on a day that saw Richard Carapaz replace Primoz Roglic as the overall race leader.

Astana Pro Team rider Izagirre made his move in the final 3km of Sunday's climb to Formigal to finish 25 seconds ahead of Michael Woods and Rui Costa.

The 31-year-old timed his attack well, something brother and team-mate Gorka failed to do earlier in the race, as he added a fourth Grand Tour stage victory.

An eventful final climb also saw overnight leader Roglic lose pace with Carapaz, who finished 55 seconds behind Izagirre but still did enough to take the General Classification lead and the red jersey.

Roglic was visibly struggling with around 2km to go and Carapaz took full advantage with a late attack, although he did not have the legs to keep up with Hugh Carthy in the final stretch.

EF Pro Cycling's Carthy bridged the gap to the other contenders and moved into second place, with Roglic slipping to fourth behind Dan Martin.

"We have been working very well this week, we have been performing well, and today we had a go," said Carapaz, whose INEOS team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart won the Giro d'Italia on Sunday. 

"We have done very well, and this is the reward for the whole team. We had more than one scare and that encouraged Movistar to pull in the end. 

"I knew the end of the stage and, to begin with, I let others who were interested do a bit. There were many attacks. 

"I had calculated the distance and I attacked at the right time. There is still a lot of the Vuelta to go and we are going to defend it - it is a luxury to be able to defend it."
 

STAGE RESULT

1. Ion Izaguirre (Astana Pro Team) 03:41:00
2. Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) +00:25
3. Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) +00:25
4. Rob Power (Team Sunweb) +00:27
5. Michael Valgren (NTT Pro Cycling) +00:27

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 24:34:39
2. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +00:18
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +00:20

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 79
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 61
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 57

King of the Mountains

1. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 19
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 18
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 16

What's next?

After a rest day on Monday, the riders return on Tuesday with stage seven and have two climbs to navigate of the Alto de Orduna, involving an inclination of 14 per cent. The final climb takes place 18km from the finish line in what could be a decisive stretch.

Tim Wellens powered to victory on stage five of the Vuelta a Espana as he emerged as the strongman from a three-way battle for supremacy in Sabinanigo. 

The 29-year-old Belgian, twice a stage winner on the Giro d'Italia in seasons gone by, is making his Vuelta debut this year and ensured it would be one to remember. 

He was locked in a scrap for first place with Frenchman Guillaume Martin and Dutch youngster Thymen Arensman, but the Lotto Soudal rider would not be denied, victory carrying him to the top of the early King of the Mountains standings. 

Wellens resisted a charge from Arensman at the flamme rouge and pushed clear on the uphill finale of the 184.4-kilometre ride from Huesca, with Martin taking second place, four seconds back. 

"It feels super good," Wellens said. "It was the goal of the team to have minimum one victory in the Vuelta and it's super nice it's come so early. 

"Now in the next weeks we don't stress, so I'm super happy with the victory." 

Assessing the race in the closing stages, he said: "We rode super good together. All three of us were a little bit at the same level but I had the kick at the end that brought me to victory." 

A hilly second half of the stage had split the field, with Wellens part of a mid-race breakaway of a dozen riders that was gradually whittled down to the trio that entered the last kilometre with the spoils up for grabs. 

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) led the sprint from the peloton to cross the line in fourth, remaining the General Classification leader as the race heads to the Pyrenees on Sunday. 

Roglic's closest rival overall in the red jersey stakes, Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation), crashed in the closing metres, along with David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), but the Irish rider was able to get back on his bike and complete the stage. 

STAGE RESULT

1. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 04:19:25
2. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +00:04
3. Thymen Arensman (Team Sunweb) +00:12
4. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +02:13
5. Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) +02:13

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 20:52:31
2. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +0:05
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:13

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 79
2. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 57
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 57

King of the Mountains

1. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 19
2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 18
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 16

WHAT'S NEXT?

The riders have tackled moderate hills so far but Sunday takes them into the Pyrenees, albeit not on the route that was planned initially. French coronavirus restrictions have forced Vuelta organisers to cancel the scheduled Tourmalet summit finish, with the stage instead ending with the category one Aramon Formigal climb.

Sam Bennett sprinted to victory at stage four of the Vuelta a Espana as Primoz Roglic retained his lead in the General Classification.

The Irish rider, who claimed the green jersey at this year's Tour de France, surged past Jasper Philipsen around 25 metres from the summit finish in Ejea de los Caballeros.

Deceuninck-Quick-Step had him well positioned towards the end of the mostly flat 191.7 kilometre ride from Garray, the peloton bunching after Willie Smit had been caught following a breakaway with around 14km left.

Philipsen moved to upset those plans but Bennett timed his finish to perfection, edging out the UAE Team Emirates rider into second, with Jakub Mareczko third.

"It was so fast in the run-in, [I was] a bit nervous, fast all day but I was just nervous, it was a bit sketchy, and in the final, we weren't all together yet," Bennett said afterwards.

"It was mad how we said we needed to be together at one point and, at that point, the team was all there. They did their job perfectly, came together when we needed to. We only asked a few guys to be there and the whole team was there to support."

He admitted Philipsen's move left him fearing he had left a push too late, adding: "I actually really didn't think I was going to catch him, but, in the end, I started getting more and more speed and still accelerating to the line, so I had the power.

"But when he initially went, he was so explosive."

Roglic finished down in 19th but remains at the top of the GC with a five-second gap over Daniel Martin.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 03:53:29
2. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) same time
3. Jakob Marezco (CCC) same time
4. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time
5. Gerben Thijssen (Lotto Soudal) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 16:30:53
2. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +0:05
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:13

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 65
2. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 57
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 50

King of the Mountains

1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 18
2. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 16
3. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) 14

WHAT'S NEXT?

Saturday sees a succession of tricky climbs in the closing 60km during a total ride of 185.5km from Huesca up to Sabinanigo.

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