Roglic crashes and Nielsen wins his second stage in this Vuelta
The 12th stage was a beautiful one, a stage in which a breakaway played an exceptional role and fought for the stage victory. Behind, there was nothing new among the favourites, who all came in together.
First breakaway attempts and Roglic's crash
We don't know who has planned the stages of this Vuelta 2021, but they have got it right in many ways. We are seeing a very evenly matched race and some very spectacular finishes, with walls, steep climbs and downhills in transition stages that lead to a very combative race and finishes that are totally suitable for moving the spectator out of their seat.
This stage 12, between Jaén and Córdoba, of 175 kilometres, had this profile: a flat stage, semi downhill, and suddenly two small passes in the final part, the Alto de San Jerónimo, of 13 kilometres and third category, and the wall near the finish, more than 7 kilometres at 5.6%, to finish down to Córdoba.
Yesterday, the breakaway almost triumphed, with a brave Nielsen. So today the attempts started early. In the first 10 kilometres, several unsuccessful attempts. At kilometre 35, something similar. The peloton did not allow an easy breakaway: more than 50 kilometres per hour in that first hour.
There had to be several breakaways that ended up forming a single breakaway of eight riders, with Iturria, Berwick, Armé, Amézqueta, Bol, Dewulf, Haga and Van Gils. They gained a minute, which seemed little, but they kept trying. In the peloton, Carapaz, who was in line for a long time as they climbed. Roglic was worse off, who went down again, again without consequences. Third time's the charm, he should be careful.
End of the stage in Cordoba
With 50 kilometres to go, the breakaway was still a minute ahead. At that point, Iturria attacked and went solo. He tried his best, bravely, but was caught again. There began a fierce fight between the escapees to play their cards for victory, the camaraderie was over and a quartet went and caught a little distance, including Bardet, Henao and Ciccone. No favourites, but good riders.
This group had only about 25 seconds over the peloton, but the distance to the finish was only 15 kilometres and the riders knew it was downhill at the end, so their chances were increasing.
6 kilometres and 27 seconds of margin for the breakaway. It was looking good, but the peloton kept cutting and cutting the gap. 3 kilometres and 11 seconds for the escapees. The excitement was to see if they would be caught or not.
Impressive images of the chase on the last straight. They were going to catch them and they caught them, so we suddenly had a spectacular sprint finish. Nielsen won, spectacular. He had already won one stage, yesterday he was 200 metres away from winning another, and today he wins the sprint. Simply unbelievable.
- Nielsen, M.C. (Education First) | 3:44:21
- Bagioli, A. (Deceuninck Quick Step) | 3:44:21
- Matthews, M. (Team BikeExchange) | 3:44:21
- Eiking, O.C. (Intermarché) | 45:33:18
- Martin, G. (Cofidis) | +58
- Roglic, P. (Jumbo Visma) | +1:56