The early breakaway made it all the way again on stage 19 of Vuelta a España. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) took the win, while Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Igor Antón finished with the overall favorites.
Once again, the day started out with numerous attacks as soon as the flag dropped for the official start. Knowing that this might be the last chance for an early break to fight for victory, countless riders wanted to make it into the front group. Ultimately, 19 riders managed to distance the peloton and open up a gap. 10 more riders later bridged across, leaving a big group at the front with an even bigger gap.
The peloton decided to take it easy and the breakaway quickly sailed away and got a gap of over 17 minutes. On the final climb of the day, the front riders started attacking each other. At one point, it looked like four riders had managed to get away but on the last kilometer, the group grew to nine riders.
At the end, the stage finished in a sprint within the select front group. De Gendt turned out to be the fastest as he outsprinted Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo) and Ivan Cortina (Bahrain-Merida). Chris Froome (Team Sky) and the rest of the favorites crossed the line 12:15 minutes later. Antón did well to stay with the top GC riders but unfortunately, it seems like his sickness may have returned.
Tomorrow, the peloton takes on one of the hardest stages of the race. Despite its length of just 117.5 km, the riders will have to overcome two difficult category 1 climbs before they finish on the infamous Angliru (12.5 km / avg. 9.8 %) with multiple parts of over 20 %.
“Today, I started to suffer from intestinal problems once again. I was in a lot of pain. The legs are good and I managed to do well on the last climb but this problem just doesn’t seem to go away. I hope I can do well tomorrow”.