Pedersen Sprints to Stage 16 Victory in La Vuelta

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09/6/2022| 0 comments
Mads Pedersen takes his second stage win of this year's Vuelta
Mads Pedersen is the winner of stage 16 at La Vuelta a Espana 2022 Unipublic

Pedersen Sprints to Stage 16 Victory in La Vuelta

Mads Pedersen has taken his second stage victory of this year’s Vuelta in a ferociously fought final near Seville, Spain. Defending champion Primoz Roglic crashes; race leader Remco Evenepoel suffers mechanical

The finish of stage 16 of La Vuelta a Espana 2022 saw the peloton reach the outskirts of Seville, the capital of Andalusia. The scene was set for an exciting sprint finish in the 189.4-kilometer flat stage from Sanlúcar de Barrameda to Tomares: a finish on wide roads with a slight incline in the final kilometers, looking appetizing for sprinters and other explosive riders. 

Therefore, in what followed the third rest day of this year’s Vuelta, the riders set out on a mission to complete what on paper looked like a transport stage for the General Classification challengers. A small breakaway group consisting of just two men formed early in the stage, while the peloton kept a steady pace behind them, closely monitored from the front of the peloton by the teams that hoped their sprint aces would bag a stage victory for them in the final.

The attacking duo at the front featured Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH) and Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Luis Angel Maté. The duo stayed in front for most of the stage with Mate especially motivated by his announced mission to raise money to plant trees in his hometown of Sierra Bermeja following the terrible forest fire that burned his town and nearby forest to the ground. Mate will raise money and plant trees for every kilometer he’s in a breakaway in this year’s Vuelta.

With 13.9-kilometers to the finish, the breakaway duo was reeled in by the peloton.

As the Vuelta reached the final kilometers of the stage, the calm of the stage evaporated and was replaced by furious action and what was to become a ferociously fought final. Alpecin-Deceuninck and UAE Team Emirates led the peloton into the finish town of Tomares, after Ineos-Grenadiers and Jumbo-Visma had set a fast pace.

As the sprinter teams were busy keeping a fast pace in the final kilometers and setting up their sprint trains, defending Vuelta champion Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) launched a surprise attack with 2.7 kilometers to go, hoping a fast finish would gain him valuable seconds on main general classification rivals such as Movistar Team’s Enric Mas, Ineos-Grenadiers’ Carlos Rodriguez, Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), and not least current Vuelta leader Remco Evenepoel (Team QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl).

Roglic quickly accelerated on the small slopes, using them as launching grounds for a powerful attack. Only the fastest sprinters who have the skills to battle small inclines well were able to follow. Cofidis’ French sprint ace Bryan Coquard had announced before the stage that he hoped to be able to follow points classification leader Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) in today’s finish, but he was dropped when the going got tough. 

Meanwhile at the back of the peloton, Vuelta leader Evenepoel took to a halt at the side of the road, claiming to have suffered a puncture within the final three kilometers, thereby benefiting from the rule giving all riders who crash or suffer mechanical problems in the final kilometers the same finishing time as the stage winner.

Only Pascal Ackermann (UAE-Team Emirates) was able to follow Roglic at first. The attacking duo was later joined by Pedersen and Danny van Poppel (Bora-Hansgrohe). Later Bahrain-Victorious’ fast man Fred Wright joined the front, forming a powerful quintet.

Roglic powered on at the front and with 600 meters to go only Pedersen was able to follow and a small gap formed. Ackerman later closed the gap, but Pedersen accelerated and won the sprint across the finish line, with Roglic suddenly crashing 75 meters from the finish. Ackerman finished second and Van Poppel completed the stage podium.

A bruised and battered Roglic rolled across the finish line and his Jumbo-Visma team later announced he would abandon the 2022 Vuelta a Espana because of the crash, thereby ruining his chances of taking a fourth consecutive Vuelta champion title.

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