Alberto Dainese sprints to victory on stage 19 – Vuelta a Espana

Vuelta a Espana 2023

Stage 19

Alberto Dainese (DSM-Firmenich) powered to the victory on stage 19 of the Vuelta a España ahead of Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) in a bunch sprint disrupted in the final kilometre by a crash that took down points classification leader Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck).

Groves’ lead-out man appeared to look over his shoulder and overlap wheels with EF Education-EasyPost’s lead-out rider and hit the ground hard. Behind him, Groves managed to land on his feet but was unable to get involved in the sprint.

Race leader Sepp Kuss and his Jumbo-Visma teammates continued to dominate the general classification, with the American, Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič all finishing safely in the bunch.

The same can’t be said for DSM-Firmenich riders Max Poole and Tobias Bayer, but the crash victims all got up and finished the stage, although torn up and bloodied as they celebrated their teammate’s win.

“It’s really nice for sure,” Dainese said of his third career Grand Tour stage win after two in the Giro d’Italia. “We did a super job. We were looking at the sprints in the first two weeks and what we did wrong there. Today we executed the plan 100%.

“I think was really unlucky to lose a couple of guys in the crash but to that point, I was in a perfect position where I wanted to be. And it was a bit headwind so Ganna and the other guys just went a bit early and then I was waiting for my moment to go in the wind. I am super happy to finish a hard Vuelta in this way.”

Alberto Dainese celebrates as he crosses the line.

Dainese will head to the Tudor Pro Cycling team next season and said he wanted to end his time with DSM well.

“Obviously this feels special because of that,” he said. “Today I’ve had a lot of pressure because I knew there was kind of the last opportunity for a sprint. Then I really want to say thanks to the team. They did a good job.”

After the GC battles and controversy of previous days, the Vuelta a España headed back to flat ground and a tamer day out for stage 19 from La Bañeza to Iscar. The 177km run to the north-west of Madrid would be the first stage in eight days without at least a second-category climb on the route, with no climbs of any description standing in the way of a bunch sprint finish.

With only the intermediate sprint at 20km from the finish offering up any reward for a potential breakaway, there was hardly a titanic battle to get out front.

Since the stage offered the first chance for the sprinters in more than a week at the Vuelta a España, the breakaway was given no chance.

Still, Mathis Le Berre (Arkéa-Samsic) was keen to give it a go and was joined by Paul Lapeira (AG2R-Citroën), Michal Schlegel (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Clément Davy (Groupama-FDJ) in the opening kilometres.

The four – three Frenchman and a Czech – were allowed four minutes by the peloton, predictably controlled by Alpecin-Deceuninck and UAE Team Emirates, though that gap soon came down towards 1:30, a mark where it hovered around for much of the day.

The peloton on the road in Íscar.

Unsurprisingly on a stage with no categorised climbs, there was precious little of note to report on during the stage, with the bulk of the day’s 177km appearing to be a pointless exercise.

With Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quickstep) threatening to overtake Groves in the points classification but vowing not to, Alpecin-Deceuninck were taking no risks and lined out the peloton before the points sprint in Mojados with 19.3km to go.

The quartet fell apart as the peloton closed in, with Davy and Schlegel persisting in their efforts – Davy stayed clear to take the points with Groves next across the line. Evenepoel did not get involved in the sprint, giving Groves a more generous lead in the green jersey race.

Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan) tried to disrupt the bunch sprint with a solo move soon but the sprinters’ teams made sure he didn’t get far.

After working all day, Alepcin-Deceuninck’s hopes came to grief in the final kilometre when Groves was involved in a crash with the DSM-Firmenich lead-out riders.

The impetus shifted to EF Education-Easypost and Ineos, with Filippo Ganna powering to what looked to be a stage win before Dainese pushed past just before the line.

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