Vuelta a Espana 2020
Tim Wellens claimed his second victory of the Vuelta a España 2020, out sprinting Michael Woods to the line on stage 14.
Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) managed to hold off a fast finishing Woods (EF Pro Cycling) thanks to a very sharp left handed just before the line which the Belgian led into.
Both riders had been part of the day’s main breakaway, which had looked like it was going to come back as the peloton brought the gap down to 1-20 before they sat up and let them go.
Behind, Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) led the peloton that had been broken to pieces on the climb to the line with race leader, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), finishing safely in the group and keeping his red jersey.
The riders started in the town of Lugo and took on a 204.7km undulating route to Ourense with everyone expecting a breakaway victory.
A huge break went away early on, but the peloton brought that back before seven riders went up the road.
In the break there was Marc Soler (Movistar), Woods, Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), Thyman Arensman (Sunweb), Wellens, Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis) and Zdeněk Štybar (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
The break managed to pull out a gap of just over five and a half minutes before teams who missed out on the break started riding in the peloton.
Astana were the first team to come up and try and pull it back and they pulled the gap down to around four minutes before they started to lose man-power.
They sat up and the pace setting was taken up by Total Direct Energie who brought the gap to 2-18 as they hit the bottom of the last categorised climb of the day with 32km to go, the Alto de Abelaira, which was 7.6km at an average of 3.8 per cent.
Woods was the first rider to hit out for glory from the break but he was pulled back just before the top. Behind, Total Direct Energie lost all but one rider but other teams had come up to help.
Jumbo-Visma, Mitchelton-Scott and EF Pro Cycling came up with 20km to go as they started to descend to the finish.
But then the pace was completely called off in the peloton and the break started to pull out to over two and half minutes with 17km to go.
Štybar and Soler went away on the last few 100 metres of the descent before Wellens saw the danger and bridged across to them with 10km to go.
Périchon had been dropped back to the peloton with Van Baarle, Woods and Arensman struggling to catch up on the leaders with them stuck at 15 seconds into the last 4km.
With 1.7km to go Arensman did a huge turn and brought the gap right down with Woods pulling back the leading trio just before the flamme rouge as they started the uphill kick to the line.
Woods was pinned on the front until 500 metres to go where Wellens started to up the pace, he kicked with 200m to the line after blocking a move from Soler.
Woods came around the other riders to get into the slipstream of Wellens but the line of the road was against him and Wellens managed to hold him off thanks to the final corner with about 10m to the line.
With four stages to go until the race reaches Madrid, it’s still all to play for with long days on the horizon starting tomorrow with a punchy 230km slog over five categorised climbs.