Stage 16 of the Vuelta a España was characterized by blistering speeds, strategic decisions, and emotionally charged moments.
As the riders embarked on the route, they were met with varying weather conditions – from torrential downpours to brief spells of dryness. All eyes were on Jumbo-Visma’s trio and the UAE Team’s tactics for their General Classification contenders.
Early Breakaway and Green Jersey’s Chase
Groves’ primary motivation was evident: garner maximum points for the green jersey classification. As the intermediate sprint line neared, Groves showcased his sprinting prowess, securing 20 points and further solidifying his lead in the points classification.
His move was clear – distance himself from his nearest competitor, Remco Evenepoel, who sat 73 points behind him.
“I’m just happy to win today”
The stage’s climax was defined by Jonas Vingegaard‘s phenomenal performance.
Launching an attack with just 3.8 km to go, Vingegaard managed to create a substantial gap. His victory wasn’t just a show of strength but also an emotionally charged one.
At the finish line, Vingegaard dedicated his win to teammate Nathan Van Hooydonck, who had suffered a car crash earlier in the day. The camaraderie within the team was evident as Vingegaard was greeted with a warm embrace by his teammates Kuss and Valter.
Surprising Inaction from the Rivals
The final climb was a scene of perplexity.
While Vingegaard charged ahead, the expected counterattacks from major GC contenders remained absent. It was puzzling to see Roglič, instead of supporting his teammate, leading attacks in the final stretches of the stage.
Moreover, other teams’ strategies raised eyebrows. The decision of UAE to send Fisher-Black up the road, when their stronger GC contenders Ayuso, Soler, and Almeida were present, was a questionable one.
Vingegaard capitalized on these unusual tactics, gaining 1:15 on Kuss, thereby placing himself just 29 seconds behind the American in the GC. Roglič, after all the day’s drama, sits third, 1:33 behind.
The silent battle among the Jumbo-Visma riders Kuss, Vingegaard, and Roglič promises a thrilling end to this year’s Vuelta.
Vuelta A España 2023: Stage 16 Results
- VINGEGAARD Jonas (Jumbo-Visma): 2:38:23
- FISHER-BLACK Finn (UAE Team Emirates): + 0:43
- POELS Wout (Bahrain – Victorious): + 0:49
- STORER Michael (Groupama – FDJ): + 0:55
- AYUSO Juan (UAE Team Emirates): + 1:01
- MAS Enric (Movistar Team): Same time
- VLASOV Aleksandr (BORA – hansgrohe): Same time
- ROGLIČ Primož (Jumbo-Visma): Same time
- LANDA Mikel (Bahrain – Victorious): + 1:05
- KUSS Sepp (Jumbo-Visma): Same time
Vuelta A España 2023: General Classification Standings After Stage 16
- KUSS Sepp (Jumbo-Visma): 57:18:10
- VINGEGAARD Jonas (Jumbo-Visma): + 0:29
- ROGLIČ Primož (Jumbo-Visma): + 1:33
- AYUSO Juan (UAE Team Emirates): + 2:33
- MAS Enric (Movistar Team): + 3:02
- SOLER Marc (UAE Team Emirates): + 3:28
- LANDA Mikel (Bahrain – Victorious): + 4:12
- VLASOV Aleksandr (BORA – hansgrohe): + 4:58
- UIJTDEBROEKS Cian (BORA – hansgrohe): + 5:38
- ALMEIDA João (UAE Team Emirates): + 8:43
Vuelta A España Jerseys After Stage 16
KUSS Sepp (Jumbo-Visma)
GROVES Kaden (ALPECIN-DECEUNINCK)
EVENEPOEL Remco (Soudal – QuickStep)
AYUSO Juan (UAE Team Emirates)
Stage 16 Combativity Award Winner
NICOLAU BELTRAN Joel (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA)