The remaining three riders of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka put up a courageous fight on Saturday’s challenging stage 14 with the mountain top finish on Sierra de La Pandera. Jacques Janse van Rensburg was on the attack, while Igor Antón did well to move up to 18th place overall.
Knowing that today’s stage could be a good chance for a break to make it all the way, it was no surprise to see countless attacks during the opening kilometers. Despite being down to just three, the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders were determined to keep fighting hard. Janse van Rensburg was quick to join one of the early moves but unfortunately, the peloton didn’t let the break get much of a gap. Instead, 10 other riders got away, which ended up forming the breakaway of the day.
The pack was content with the situation for the first part of the stage but in the second part, several teams went to the front and the gap quickly began to come down. In the undulating terrain with several very steep ascents, the break started to split up, ultimately leaving Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe) alone at the front. The Pole took on the final climb with a gap of just 1:30 minutes on a select group of favorites but despite several attacks from the GC riders towards the end, Majka managed to keep the chasers at bay to take the win.
Antón crossed the line in 33rd place, which saw him move up one spot in the general classification before Sunday difficult queen stage of the race.
Igor Antón: “I was already at my limit on the technical descent before the climb but at least I survived the day. We have had a lot of bad luck but the three of us left in the race will continue to fight. Luckily, we are surrounded by great professionals here who really support us and that’s a big help, also for our motivation. There is still a lot of racing left in this Vuelta. We have already been close to winning a stage with Merhawi [Kudus], Omar [Fraile] and Jacques [Janse van Rensburg] and we will keep trying our best all the way to Madrid”.