In an electrifying day of racing during Stage 9 of Vuelta A España, from Cartagena to Collado de la Cruz de Caravaca, the echelons caused by crosswinds and the challenging final climb had spectators riveted.
Lennard Kämna of BORA-hansgrohe executed a perfect breakaway strategy, culminating in a thrilling stage win after managing to fend off the determined Sobrero.
The day was rife with strategic moves as teams such as Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quickstep sought to take advantage of the early echelons.
As the GC men crossed the finish line, there was anticipation regarding the time gaps, especially with the road conditions in the final kilometers presenting an additional challenge.
The early parts of the stage were marked by the formation of echelons, a phenomenon resulting from crosswinds where riders are forced into staggered lines across the road.
These formations were instigated mainly by teams like Jumbo-Visma and Soudal-QuickStep, causing splits in the peloton.
Significant names like Evenepoel, Roglič, Vingegaard, and red jersey holder Sepp Kuss were among the riders in the front echelons, indicating how these wind patterns had influenced the strategy of the top teams.
As the race progressed, Jumbo-Visma’s effort at the front did result in some separation, but the peloton eventually came back together.
“I went totally over my limit for two minutes”
Kämna emerged as the star of the day, sealing a solo victory on Stage 9 of the Vuelta.
Launching an aggressive push in the final kilometers, Kämna managed to stave off challenges from the likes of Sobrero and Ghebreigzabhier.
This triumph marks another feather in Kämna’s cap, adding to his collection of Grand Tour stage wins.
“Echelons formed early on. I navigated them while conserving energy, anticipating a regrouping at the ascent. I was ahead when the group surged, and I joined with plenty of reserves.
“The inconsistent gradient of the climb made it challenging to identify the perfect moment to break away. However, I’m thrilled that I seized that moment and secured the victory.
“I pushed beyond my threshold for a couple of minutes, and it was a battle to the finish.”
Muddy Final Climb
The final climb posed a unique set of challenges for the riders. Not only did they have to navigate through steep sections with gradients reaching up to 20%, but they also had to contend with muddy roads in the final kilometer.
This potentially perilous situation, however, was mitigated as organizers decided to take the General Classification times at the 2.05 km mark, thus allowing the GC contenders to avoid risks in the last two kilometers.
Among the GC men, Primož Roglič seemed to have an edge, passing the 2.05km timing marker seconds ahead of his rivals.
In the battle for the red jersey, Sepp Kuss of Team Jumbo-Visma remains in a strong position, but with the high mountains and more grueling stages to come, the contest is far from decided.
Vuelta A España 2023: Stage 9 Results
- KÄMNA Lennard (BORA – hansgrohe): 4:28:59
- SOBRERO Matteo (Team Jayco AlUla): + 0:13
- HAMILTON Chris (Team dsm – firmenich): + 1:12
- GHEBREIGZABHIER Amanuel (Lidl – Trek): + 1:00
- BARRENETXEA Jon (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA): + 1:37
- FERNÁNDEZ Rubén (Cofidis): Same time
- CAICEDO Jonathan Klever (EF Education-EasyPost): + 2:11
- NAVARRO Daniel (Burgos-BH): + 2:41
- MAS Enric (Movistar Team): + 3:18
- VLASOV Aleksandr (BORA – hansgrohe): + 3:11
Note: The stage results show the order in which the riders crossed the finish line, while the times reflect their actual times at the 2.05 km marker. This is why you see Enric Mas in 9th position with a slower time than Vlasov’s.
Vuelta A España 2023: General Classification Standings After Stage 9
- KUSS Sepp (Jumbo-Visma): 35:23:30
- SOLER Marc (UAE Team Emirates): + 0:43
- MARTINEZ Lenny (Groupama – FDJ): + 1:02
- EVENEPOEL Remco (Soudal – Quick Step): + 2:24
- LANDA Mikel (Bahrain – Victorious): + 2:29
- ROGLIČ Primož (Jumbo-Visma): Same time
- VINGEGAARD Jonas (Jumbo-Visma): + 2:35
- MAS Enric (Movistar Team): Same time
- AYUSO Juan (UAE Team Emirates): + 2:45
- ALMEIDA João (UAE Team Emirates): + 2:55
Vuelta A España Jerseys After Stage 9
KUSS Sepp (Jumbo-Visma)
GROVES Kaden (AUS/Alpecin-Deceuninck)
SEPÚLVEDA Eduardo (ARG/Lotto-Dstny)
MARTINEZ Lenny (Groupama – FDJ)