Vuelta a Espan 2019
The Deceuninck-QuickStep rider’s victory was overshadowed by events earlier in the day, however, as Movistar courted controversy for attacking Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) after the race leader was caught up in a crash.
The contentious crash came with 66km to go and saw Roglic end up off his bike and on top of a stone wall. His valuable domestique Tony Martin abandoned the race as a result. Immediately following the incident, Movistar upped the pace, making life as difficult as possible for the two GC men to regain contact. Miguel Angel Lopez was also held up, and his Astana team tried to pace him and the maillot rojo back to the main group of favourites.
After 10 kilometres of panic, during which an isolated Roglic failed to close down the gap, Movistar visibly sat up and allowed the race leader back into the group.
During the final part of the stage, reports emerged suggesting that a UCI car was being used to pace Roglic and Lopez back into contact with the Quintana-Valverde group, which was the reason why Movistar eased up.
At time of writing, no official complaint has been lodged with the jury.
With this win, Deceuninck have a fourth stage victory with a third rider in the Vuelta, to say nothing of James Knox’s impressive debut top 10 on GC. It has been a spectacularly successful Vuelta for the Belgian team.
Sam Bennett was second across the line, just a few seconds behind Cavagna in the end, with the Frenchman’s team mates, Zdenek Stybar and Philippe Gilbert, taking third and fourth respectively.