Vuelta Stage Report: The break of the day went all the way to the finish of stage 7. It was close, but 30 seconds were enough for the group of five to fight it out for the victory. Jesús Herrada was the fastest to the line, but by only half a wheel from Samuele Battistela and Fred Wright. Sam Bennett took the bunch sprint and there was no change on the overall.
Stage 7 in 1 minute
It was close call for Jesús Herrada
Jesús Herrada won the seventh stage of the Vuelta a España. In Cistierna, the Spaniard of Cofidis had the best final kick of a leading group of five, which stayed out of the hands of the peloton. Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan) crossed the line in second, Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious) third. Remco Evenepoel of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl held the lead in the general classification.
The jersey wearers line up at the start
Fernando Escartín: “This stage is around 200 km long and consists of a territory that is ideal for escapes to take place. The route has a winding profile, with a climb up to San Glorio almost half-way through the race. Favourites will attempt to preserve some of their strength in order to face the weekend ahead, which could greatly benefit those aiming to obtain a stage victory.”
Stage 7 profile
The 190 kilometre seventh stage went from Camargo on the coast to Cistierna in the mountains. To get to there, the peloton had to climb the Puerto de San Glorio. From the top of this 22.4 kilometre climb at an average of 5.5 percent, it was still more than 64 kilometres to the finish. It was a climb where the teams of the better climbing sprinters could drop the pure sprinters. Also it was a climb where attackers could escape the peloton.
The Guardia Civil Motos ready for another day
It wasn’t too long before the break went up the road
AG2R Citroën had to start with two men less. Jaakko Hänninen and Andrea Vendrame tested positive for covid and had to leave la Vuelta. Early in the stage a leading group of six was formed. Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan), Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious), Jesús Herrada (Cofidis), Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal) and Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Deceuninck) joined forces and took a maximum lead of just over 4 minutes on the peloton, where the Trek-Segafredo team were keen to pull them back.
Cantabria is a very nice part of Spain
The bunch wasn’t going to let the break get too far ahead
The climb to San Glorio in the Picos de Europa
With 86 kilometres to go, the race hit the Puerto de San Glorio. Trek-Segafredo and BikeExchange-Jayco led the peloton, where Tim Merlier of Alpecin-Deceuninck was dropped early. Pascal Ackermann, the fast man of UAE Team Emirates was also dropped. The green jersey, Sam Bennett (BORA-hansgrohe) also couldn’t keep up with the pace. In the leading group Goldstein had to let the escape go. The others came over the top with a lead of 2:30.
The peloton held the break at around 3 minutes
Evenepoel and Alaphilippe were staying cool
After the climb Bennett was able to return to the bunch, but he had to make an effort to get there. The escapees managed to maintain their lead, even though Arkéa-Samsic, BikeExchange-Jayco and BORA-hansgrohe had started the chase and Trek-Segafredo came to help again. As the finish approached, things started to look more and more favourable for the escapees. By the last kilometre their lead was still 40 seconds and it was clear that the winner had to be from the break.
Could the break hold the peloton off?
The peloton were at ‘full gas’ trying to catch the escape
The break held out
Janssens went for an early jump, but Wright closed the gap. Then the Briton, who was third on stage 5, tried it with a long sprint. It looked like the Bahrain-Victorious rider had the win, but in the last metres Herrada passed him and took the stage victory. Battistella also passed Wright and finished second. For Herrada it was his second Grand Tour stage win, after he already won a stage in the Vuelta in 2019.
Again Fred Wright was the powerhouse of the break
It was a close win for Herrada
Stage winner, Jesús Herrada (Cofidis): “It’s crazy! Into the last 3km, the gaps made it clear we would make it. I had to be patient in the last km, following wheels. I knew there were fast men in the group but I trusted my sprint. We fought until the line and I could make it. It’s very important. It was hard to open up a significant gap for the breakaway. We had to go hard on the climb. We worked well together and it was about giving it all until the end. We knew the finale and the wind could play in our favour. After Marc [Soler]’s victory, Spain takes a second stage win. We’re happy. Tomorrow will be very hard but we’ll savour this win.”
The break held the peloton off for Jesús Herrada to take the win
Day two in red for Remco Evenepoel
Overall leader, Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “It was the perfect scenario for us that two teams wanted to control the race and we didn’t have to do anything, so everybody could try to recover from yesterday’s race. At the end, everybody was doing well, we were in control and relaxed. Of course, it’s a pity for the teams working in the bunch not to catch the breakaway, but there was a really strong group in the front. I have a nice advantage now, so I would also be happy if I could just keep this time gap over the rest, but of course, if there’s an opportunity, I will not let it go. It’s a three week race, and arriving to the time trial with an advantage will be better than being behind.”
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Vuelta a España Stage 7 Result:
1. Jesús Herrada (Spa) Cofidis in 4:30:58
2. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan
3. Fred Wright (GB) Bahrain-Victorious
4. Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck
5. Harry Sweeny (Aus) Lotto Soudal
6. Sam Bennett (Irl) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:29
7. Jake Stewart (GB) Groupama-FDJ
8. Kaden Groves (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
9. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
10. Daniel McLay (GB) Arkéa Samsic.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 7:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 25:21:34
2. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:21
3. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 0:28
4. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 1:01
5. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 1:12
6. Pavel Sivakov (Fra) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:27
7. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
8. Carlos Rodríguez (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:34
9. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange-Jayco at 1:52
10. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 1:54.