Juan Sebastian Molano wins after a masterpiece for Team Emirates
Photo: La Vuelta

Even a few hundred meters from the finish line of the twelfth stage of the Spanish Vuelta, there were no Team UAE jerseys visible at the front of the peloton. Suddenly, Rui Oliveira appeared in front, with Juan Sebastian Molano sitting patiently at the wheel. The Colombian showed an excellent finish and won the stage.

In hindsight, the twelfth stage of this year’s Vuelta a España could be called an active break. In the profile of the section from Alvega to Zaragoza, there were two distinct climbs, but the organizers did not decide to mark them as mountain rewards. The only place where the points contenders competed today – apart from the finish point in Zaragoza – was the bonus point in Villanueva de Gallego, located 19 kilometers from the finish. There were tempting bonus seconds up for grabs – 6, 4 and 2 respectively.

Although there were reports of strong winds before the start of the stage, the cyclists competed in a light breeze that could not be used to blow away the peloton. After two speed battle victories for Caden Groves, all eyes were on the Australian and his Alpecin-Deseuninck teammates, who had no objection to setting the pace throughout the entire stage.

The charges of the Roodhooft brothers took their places at the head of the peloton very quickly – a breakaway broke out quickly, which was neither harmful to the enemy teams nor to the leader of the general classification Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma). There wasn’t much interest in leaving for obvious reasons, such as the lack of mountain rewards or favorable terrain for the peloton.

The Spanish ProTeams’ cyclists were brave skirmishers – Abel Balderston (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) and is known for this type of work Jitsi Paul (Burgos-BH). Although the pair were doomed to be eaten up by the relentless peloton from the start, the competitors did not even think of returning to the group alone and bravely remained at the front. The pace of the race was calm, which could have led to a decrease in the concentration of the cyclists riding the peloton – at a distance of just over 100 km, a crash occurred in which: Omar Frayel (INEOS Grenadiers), Rudi Mollard (Groupama- FDJ), Luis Vervaeke (Soudal – Quick – Step), Samuel Battistella (Astana Kazakhstan Team), Daniel Navarro (Burgos – PH) and Alain Gossum (Total Energies), who seemed the most injured and fell behind the peloton several times later in the stage. .

In the middle of the stage, the difference between the leaders decreased to one minute, but it increased after a while, because most of the competitors stopped for a physiological rest.

Soon everything returned to normal, and 44 kilometers before the finish line, the breakaway was eliminated. Earlier, Abel Balderstone had already shown signs of weakness and lost contact with Jetse Bol for a moment. The Dutchman wanted the number of the more active competitor so much that shortly after catching up with him, he attacked and stayed in front for several kilometers.

As the Burgos-BH rider returned to the peloton for the second time, the riders began to slowly prepare for the bonus stage, with both sprinters and general classification favorites competing for points and seconds. Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was first across the line, and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) was second, earning an additional 4 seconds. Behind him, Soudal’s Kasper Pedersen finished the quick move, thus working with his captain, Remco Evenepoel.

After the bonus flight, Kamel Gradek of the Bahrain Victorious Team set a high pace, but the Middle East Team’s work did not end with the peloton’s hijack. But this does not mean that the main group slowed down significantly – the peloton was approaching Zaragoza at a speed of more than 60 km/h.

Classically, we have seen at the top of the group a mixture of fast teams and those protecting their leaders in the general classification. We are mainly talking about Soudal players – Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma. After a few minutes of being absent from the front of the group, the Alpecin Desoninck team appeared at the head of the group, followed by the Liddell Trek players, counting on another good performance by Eduard Theunis.

Like Philip made of hemp, in the last few hundred metres, the Rui Oliveira-Juan Sebastian Molano duo of the UAE team jumped out from behind their rivals. The Colombian emerged from the Portuguese circle and outperformed the rest of the competitors. Caden Groves from Alpecin-Deceuninck and Boy van Poppel from Intermarche – Circus – Wanty completed the podium.

Sepp Koss remained the leader of the race.

Winicki stage 12 of the Tour of Spain 2023:

Results supported by FirstCycling.com

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