NUR-SULTAN – Astana Pro Team’s Jakob Fuglsang won the 16th stage of the Vuelta a España Sept. 10 atop Alto de la Cubilla, reported KazInform.kz.
“I am super happy with my win! Finally, I’ve got a Grand Tour stage victory! It is a great continuation of my best season so far. I am happy that after a disappointing Tour de France I’ve managed to get my form back here at the Vuelta. It was our plan to go in a breakaway together with Luis Leon (Sanchez). Actually, I also tried yesterday, but it did not work out. Now, everything was perfect. In the morning we were talking about two options for this stage – to try to go in a break for the stage, but if it wouldn’t work out, to stay in front and to help Miguel Angel (Lopez) on the final climb,” he told cyclingpub.com.
Fuglsang and Sanchez played a team tactic with their breakaway, with the latter attacking to decimate the leading group, while the former made his decisive move with five kilometres remaining. He won and Sanchez finished third. After a fast start in Pravia, a group of 17 riders joined Fulgsang and Sanchez. The leading group opened a nine-minute gap, which was enough to fight for the podium.
Behind Fulgsang and Sanchez’s breakaway, Astana Pro Team had a good day, moving in front of the main group at the beginning of the last Alto de la Cubilla climb. Dario Cataldo, Omar Fraile, and Ion Izagirre contributed to the team advancement shortly after Lopez attacked. He was caught by the rivals but continued attacking. Lopez crossed the finish line together with Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic, but was able to drop Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana from UCI WorldTeam Movistar. Roglic moved into the second La Vuelta rest day as the GC leader, followed by Valverde (+2.48), Pogacar (+3.42) and Lopez (+3.59).
“I want to thank Luis Leon for the great help he provided me on the last climb. He made a super-strong attack with about nine kilometres to go and after that, we found ourselves in a small group of five riders. He continued pushing hard and I attacked on a steep sector and only Brambilla was able to follow me. A bit later, with maybe five kilometres to go, I tried again and this time I went away alone. I have a great feeling right now with this success, which confirms I am on the right way for the worlds and the final part of the season. However, we still have the most important goal here – to help Miguel Angel Lopez to reach the podium and I am ready to help him with all my forces. We still have two difficult stages in the third week of the race, so we will keep on fighting,” said Fulgsang.