The Australian cyclist Kaden Groves (Team BikeExchange) won the sprint this Wednesday in the eleventh stage of La Vuelta a Espana, held between the headquarters of ElPozo Alimentacion, in Alhama de Murcia, and Cabo de Gata, in a route of 191.2 kilometers that did not present any news in the red jersey, which the Belgian Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) retains for one more day.
Groves won in the final part of a very fast finish ahead of the Dutch Danny Van Poppel (Bora-Hansgrohe) and the Belgian Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Deceuninck), despite the fact that the Colombian Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) seemed that he was going to impose himself until the last 50 meters.
The day was very quiet and had more attention before its start due to the casualties due to covid of the British Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange), fifth overall and winner in 2018, of the Frenchman Pavel Sivakov (INEOS Grenadiers), ninth classified, and of three more cyclists from Kern Pharma (Hector Carretero, Roger Adria and Paul Miquel Delgado).
Later, during the race, with more than 60 kilometers to go, the peloton lost another relevant name such as the current world champion, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl). The Frenchman fell to the ground during the entrance to one of the passing towns and had to leave by ambulance to be transferred to the hospital to undergo more tests with a sore collarbone that could leave him without a World Cup in a fateful year.
This was the biggest problem that leader Remco Evenepoel suffered during the day, which was an armistice between the big favorites, who already had to work hard in Tuesday’s time trial and who have their sights set on more favorable stages like this one Thursday the first of the three top finals of the week. In this way, the Belgian became the youngest to wear the La Vuelta leader’s jersey for six days in the last 46 years.
From the starting line, the invited Spanish teams used the stage to make themselves visible and attacked early to form a breakaway of three riders made up of Joan Bou from Valencia (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Czech Vojtech Repa (Kern Pharma Team) and Dutch Jetse Bol (Burgos BH).
The three held together and in the lead until the finish line 60, when Bol decided to go ahead alone and offered to fight for more kilometers, until he was neutralized by the peloton, whose pace was lower in a stage that ended late.
The group was calm until the last six kilometers, when it began to accelerate in sight of the finish line. Team BikeExchange prepared very well for the arrival at Groves, keeping three riders until the final stretch, and he was able to finish the job to achieve his first victory in a Grand Tour.
This Thursday, the twelfth stage of La Vuelta will be very different. The 192.7 kilometers that the race will cover between Salobrena and Penas Blancas, in the Malaga town of Estepona, will have a more or less flat profile until the last 20 kilometers, where it will climb to the top of Penas Blancas, a first-class port and average slope greater than 6 percent.
1. Kaden Groves (AUS/Team Bike Exchange) 5:03:14.
2. Danny Van Poppel (HOL/Bora-Hansgrohe) mt
3. Tim Merlier (BEL/Alpecin-Deceuninck) mt
4. Juan Sebastian Molano (COL/UAE Team Emirates) mt
5. Mads Pedersen (DIN/Trek Segafredo) mt
1. Remco Evenepoel (BEL/Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 39:39:04.
2. Primoz Roglic (ESL/Jumbo-Visma) at 2:41.
3. ENRIC MAS (ESP/MOVISTAR TEAM) 3:03.
4. CARLOS RODRIGUEZ (ESP/INEOS GRENADIERS) 3:55.
5. JUAN AYUSO (ESP/UAE TEAM EMIRATES) 4:53.
Source: Europa Press