After yesterday’s team time trial success, Team dsm-firmenich aimed to keep the red jersey amongst their ranks this afternoon at the Vuelta a España on the rolling parcours and against some inclement weather. Despite their best efforts, Piccolo would take the jersey after being out in the break, while Romain Bardet led the team home in 11th place in the bunch.
Leaving Mataró this afternoon heavy rains in the area continued to fall over the bunch and the decision was taken by the race organisers to neutralise the finale in terms of GC gaps, with the time taken for the overall classification at nine kilometres to go, but with the bonus seconds still available in the finale. Looking to honour the Maillot Rojo, Romain Combaud and Chris Hamilton did a great job to control the breakaway for most of the stage at the head of the peloton, keeping the gap steady between around two and three minutes, as the skies cleared. Yet, that wouldn’t last for long and the rain began to fall once more which sadly saw crashes in the bunch. Oscar Onley, Alberto Dainese and Lorenzo Milesi were all involved in different crashes on the run-in, with Onley unfortunately abandoning the race.
Coming into the finale, Piccolo’s breakaway held onto enough of a gap going through the nine kilometre mark to take the race lead; before the battle for the stage win kicked off. Bardet was attentive at the front alongside Max Poole and the duo continued at the head of the race over the penultimate climb. Kron made his stage winning move on the steep slopes and would hold on up the climb to the line, where Bardet and Poole finished in the chasing group; in 11th and 15th places respectively.