Carapaz wins second Vuelta stage, Roglic closes on Evenepoel

77th Tour of Spain 2022 - Stage 14
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SIERRA DE LA PANDERA, Spain – Richard Carapaz hung on to win the mountainous Stage 14 of the Spanish Vuelta, while Primoz Roglic reduced the gap to Remco Evenepoel after the race leader wilted on the final ascent.

Carapaz, the Olympic gold medalist, won his second stage in three days after forming part of an early breakaway and clinging to his slim lead over the final meters as Roglic and another chaser came on strong.

The Ecuadorian rider for Ineos Grenadiers completed the grueling ride in southern Spain from Montoro to the category-one Sierra de la Pandera summit in just over four hours.

“We knew that today was a very important stage for us, that we could repeat what we did the other day,” said Carapaz, who also won the 12th stage. “The truth is that it took a long time to get away, but in the end I was there at the right time.”

Miguel Lopez Angel and Roglic were just seconds behind. They chewed up what had been a four-minute gap but Carapaz just had enough.

However, three-time defending champion Roglic’s main goal was accomplished when the Jumbo Visma leader attacked on the final climb and watched as Evenepoel failed to keep pace.

Roglic slashed the gap to Evenepoel from 2 minutes, 41 seconds at the day’s start to 1 minute, 49 seconds with seven stages remaining. Enric Mas was third overall at 2:43 behind.

Evenepoel will wear the red leader’s jersey for an eighth consecutive day, but Roglic was finally able to do some damage to the Belgian and could try to press his momentum on back-to-back mountain stages.

“It wasn’t my best day for sure, I didn’t have the best legs, I couldn’t accelerate when Roglic went,” the leader of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl said. “I’m still 1:50 ahead in the (general classification), so nothing to really panic about. I’ll try to recover as much as possible and survive tomorrow.”

Sunday’s 15th stage takes riders over 153 kilometers (95 miles) to a summit finish at the special-category Alto Hoya de la Mora. The three-week race finishes in Madrid next weekend.

Australia’s Jay Vine wins Tour Down Under

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ADELAIDE, Australia — Australia’s Jay Vine defended his overnight lead to win the Tour Down Under, the first event of the 2023 World Tour.

Simon Yates of Britain won the final stage and moved up from third to second place on overall standings. Vine came in second on the stage to secure the biggest win of his career in a stage race.

The UAE Team Emirates rider took the overall tour lead when he finished second in Stage 2 and third in Stage 3. He came into the final stage with a 15-second lead on general classification.

The 70-mile stage involved four laps of a 15.5 mile-circuit through the Adelaide Hills before finishing just beyond the summit of Mount Lofty.

Yates led the crucial attack on the ascent less than 1.2 miles from the finish, but Vine jumped onto his wheel and Australian Ben O’Connor also joined in.

O’Connor led out close to the finish line, Vine briefly passed him but Yates came over the top to claim the stage win. Vine retained his overall advantage and claimed the title in his debut appearance in the Tour Down Under.

The 27-year-old made his name in e-Sports before being signed by the UAE team after winning the academy program on the Zwift online platform. He won two stages of the Vuelta a Espana last year and the Australian Time Trial title.

“It’s pretty incredible to be standing here and wearing this jersey,” Vine said. “The way we drove that was first class. My guys were incredible.”

The final stage featured a breakaway of 13 riders but Vine’s UAE teammates led the chase by the peloton and put their rider in a position to contest the win.

Yates again rode an aggressive race but had to be happy with the stage win.

“We came Down Under with a lot of ambition. We put a lot into it and we didn’t come away with the overall but we can walk away pretty happy,” Yates said. “Obviously Jay Vine is a massive talent and the crowd will be happy with a local winner.”

France’s Coquard wins Tour Down Under Stage 4; Vine leads

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ADELAIDE, Australia — French cyclist Bryan Coquard won Stage 4 of the Tour Down Under for his first-ever World Tour win, while Australia’s Jay Vine retained the overall tour lead by 15 seconds with one stage remaining.

Coquard is a lightweight sprinter who has had 49 wins in a decade-long career but had never won on the World Tour until he cleared out near the finish to claim the 82-mile stage by a margin of about just over 100 feet.

Vine was among the leading group that shared Coquard’s winning time and who retained his lead on general classification over Britain’s Simon Yates and Germany’s Phil Bauhaus. The race concludes with Stage 5, which ends atop 2,329-foot Mount Lofty.

“It’s a long time that I’ve waited for this win, 10 years,” said Coquard, who rides for the French Cofidis team. “I never really expected and I’m very happy and relieved with this win.”

While the stage was flat and suited sprinters, it had its challenges. Cross-winds and occasional gradients made the stage difficult and confounded some riders.

After an early breakaway by Jonas Rutsch and former tour winner Daryl Impey of South Africa, the peloton broke into two groups with Vine and other tour leaders among the leading group.

The leading group stayed together around the last, sharp bend towards the finish and Coquard bided his time until his late sprint left other riders flat-footed.

“It was pretty stressful,” Vine said. “There was one point there, I thought we were going to have an easy day and I was happy, smiling, waving to families on the side of the road.

“Then, 45 kilometers in it was on and it was on until the end so it was a very hard day. There was a lot more calorie expenditure than I was planning.”