Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) extended his overall lead of the Vuelta a España on the stage ten time trial, the red jersey wearer completing the 30.9km course 48 seconds quicker than any other rider.
As is customary, the Belgian rolled down the ramp last, with his main GC rivals Enric Mas (Movistar) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) starting two and four minutes before him.
However, it was Rémi Cavagna (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) who had set the early, provisional time to beat, completing the 30.9km route in 34 minutes and 18 seconds. The Frenchman was just the 44th of 157 riders to contest the time trial, but, by the time all riders had either finished or started their attempts, Cavagna still led the provisional standings.
Roglič started strongly, matching Cavagna through the first 10.5km, but Evenepoel started even stronger, blasting past the first checkpoint 21 seconds quicker than any other rider on the day. Evenepoel set an average speed of 56.222kmh in doing so, highlighting the extent of his time trialling ability.
His speed didn’t falter over the next 10.5km either, his gap building up to 36 seconds on Cavagna at the second checkpoint, and 37 seconds on Roglič. Evenepoel continued to kick on as well, sensing an opportunity to build a bigger advantage overall.
Ultimately, Roglič managed to beat Cavagna’s long-standing provisional first place, the Frenchman’s performance yielding a third-placed finish after spending more than two hours at the top of the timing sheet. Roglič had to settle for second, though, Evenepoel winning with a time of 33-18, while Mas came home in tenth as they both conceded further time overall on GC.
Evenepoel now leads the Vuelta a España by two minutes and 41 seconds.
How it happened
Following a rest day, the Vuelta a España resumed on Tuesday with a 30.9km time trial from Elche to Alicante on the south east coast of Spain.
Multiple riders had to withdraw from the rest of the race due to a variety of reasons, including Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers), after the 23-year-old tested positive for Covid-19 in the mandatory rounds of testing.
Floris De Tier (Alpecin-Deceuninck) – the last-placed rider on the general classification – was due to signal the beginning of the ITT at 13:52 local time, but he had also withdrawn due to saddle soreness which left him medically advised to not continue. As a result, Boy Van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) actually got stage ten underway, and the Dutchman set a time of 38 minutes and two seconds.
His time didn’t stand for long, though, with plenty of riders setting new-best times on the day. Indeed, Julius Johansen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) became the first rider to cross the line under 38 minutes, Kelland O’Brien (BikeExchange-Jayco) the first under 37, while Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo) broke the 36-minute barrier.
However, it wasn’t until Rémi Cavagna (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) – the 44th rider to roll down the starting ramp – had completed his time trial that the standings started to settle down. The Frenchman completed the course in 34-18, which quickly became the time to beat as he took control of top spot.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Rohan Dennis (Ineos Grenadiers) could only muster a 35-39, while Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious) sat in provisional third place, his ride 18 milliseconds slower than Michael Hepburn.
With ten riders still to start, and plenty of others still on the course, Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco) became just the second rider to come in under 35 minutes. His 34-55 failed to challenge Cavagna, though, the American 37 seconds slower around the 30.9km route.
Cavagna’s time stood until all riders had rolled down the ramp, as GC leader Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) started his ride last, at 16:55 local time. Contenders Enric Mas (Movistar) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) started their attempts two and four minutes beforehand, eager to keep the red jersey leader at bay.
Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers), the tenth-to-last rider to begin their TT, started strongly crossing the first checkpoint just after 10.5km in the same time as Cavagna. Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) also completed the first checkpoint just two seconds slower than Sivakov and Cavagna, but both riders failed to maintain the same intensity towards the second intermediate. Sivakov ceded 15 seconds over the middle 10km, while Yates lost 24 seconds.
In the end, Sivakov crossed the finish line with a time of 34-45, placing him provisionally second and Craddock into third.
Meanwhile, Roglič also passed the first checkpoint in the same time as Cavagna, with Mas three seconds slower. Evenepoel, though, asserted his dominance by passing the opening stage of the TT 21 seconds quicker than both Cavagna and Roglič. Evenepoel continued to set an incredibly high pace, and crossed the second intermediate with the quickest time again.
Consequently, 22km into the time trial, the Belgian had a 36-second advantage on Cavagna, and 37 seconds on Roglič.
Roglič managed to speed up in the final kilometres, though, knocking Cavagna off top spot. The Slovenian finished 12 seconds quicker, but Evenepoel was fast approaching, giving him little time to enjoy his provisional first place.
Enric Mas crossed the finish line 1-03 behind Roglič, with Evenepoel in hot pursuit to finish 48 seconds quicker than the Slovenian, taking first-place on the stage and further control of the general classification.
Vuelta a España 2022 stage ten results
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, in 33-18
2. Primož Roglič (Svn) Jumbo-Visma, at 48s
3. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, at 1-00
4. Carlos Rodríguez (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-22
5. Pavel Sivakov (Fra) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-27
6. Lawson Craddock (USA) BikeExchange-Jayco, at 1-37
7. Simon Yates (GBr) BikeExchange-Jayco, at 1-42
8. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-46
9. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Qazaqstan, at 1-47
10. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar, at 1-51