VUELTA’21 Stage 14: Bang Bang Bardet!


Vuelta Stage Report: Stage 14 to Pico Villuercas was a day of two battles with the break fighting for the stage win and the GC men punching it out in the peloton. Star of the day was DSM’s Romain Bardet who won the stage and took the KOM jersey. Miguel Angel López tried to mix things up for Movistar, but Jumbo-Visma were in control and Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) held the overall lead.

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Stage 14 last K

The fourteenth stage of the Vuelta a España fell to frenchman Romain Bardet. The DSM rider was the strongest from the break on the ramps of the Pico Villuercas and brought his team’s victory count to three on this Grand Tour. He also moved into the lead of the mountains competition.

Stage 14 Profile

Technical director, Fernando Escartín: “The first half of the stage will be flat, but the second will be very tough, with two climbs of the Pico Villuercas. The first one will happen along three kilometres of concrete with an inclination of 15%. The second, from Guadalupe to the finish-line, is longer. A stage to mark differences in the overall classification.”

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Last day in red for Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux)?

Many riders wanted to be in the break

More castles

Saturday was a mountain stage, the first of a hard weekend’s racing. The final climb of the Pico Villuercas (14.5km at 6.2%) could have been a battle ground for the GC men… but it wasn’t. Primoz Roglic, Enric Mas and Miguel Angel López watched each other in the finalé. The break escaped early in the day and racked up a lead of over 11 minutes.

More than 8 minutes for the break after an hour

51.3km in the first hour

WorldTour teams were in the break today

Because Daniel Navarro, Nicolas Prodhomme, Clement Champoussin, Jay Vine, Jan Tratnik, Jesus Herrada, Jens Keukeleire, Aritz Bagües, Xabier Mikel Azparren, Arnaud Demare, Kevin Enjoys, Tom Pidcock, Sep Vanmarcke, Matthew Holmes, Andrey Zeits, Romain Bardet, Dylan Sunderland and Ryan Gibbons were not involved with the general classification, the peloton allowed them to go. So in the final of the race we saw a race within a race.

The break of the day: Clément Champoussin, Nicolas Prodhomme (AG2R Citroën), Jay Vine (Alpecin-Fenix), Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious), Dani Navarro (Burgos-BH), Aritz Bagües (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Jens Keukeleire (EF Education-Nippo), Xabier Mikel Azparren (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Arnaud Démare, Kevin Geniets (Groupama-FDJ), Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers), Sep Vanmarcke (Israel Start-Up Nation), Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal), Andrey Zeits (BikeExchange), Romain Bardet (DSM), Dylan Sunderland (Qhubeka NextHash) and Ryan Gibbons (UAE Team Emirates)

Another hot day in Spain

Before the final climb, the stage was fairly uneventful. The predicted fireworks on the Puerto Berzocana and the very steep Alto Collado de Ballesteros didn’t happen in the peloton due to the control of the Jumbo-Visma team and fear of the final climb. In the last 50 kilometres three riders at the front attacked before the climb to Pico Villuercas. Prodhomme, Navarro and Holmes broke away from the large leading group to start the last climb of the day with a lead, but it was Prodhomme who hit the climb solo.

Can the break go to the finish?

The peloton was not in much of a hurry

A puncture for Holmes ruined his chances, and Prodhomme and Navarro were caught within 10 kilometres. The AG2R Citroën Frenchman then attacked again and started the 14.5 kilometre final climb with just over a 1 minute lead.

The break starting to climb the Collado de Ballesteros

The fans were out

Prodhomme held up well on the Pico Villuercas. At first his lead grew, as Bardet jumped away from Pidcock, Holmes, Vine, Geniets and Champoussin. Between the group of Bardet and Prodhomme was Zeits who had counter-attacked early on the climb.

Romain Bardet was first over the top of the Alto Collado de Ballesteros

Bardet took over the KOM competition

Tom Pidcock on the climb of the Alto Collado de Ballesteros

With 6 kilometres to go, Bardet threw himself into his race winning effort. After a good attack, he closed the gap to Zeits and Prodhomme. The DSM rider then rode on to solo victory, as his lead increased to almost 1 minute in the last kilometres. Vine and Herrada counter-attacked, but they couldn’t get close and had to make do with second and third.

Matthew Holmes was in the split off the front of the break until he punctured

Jumbo-Visma were in control of the peloton, but were not too interested in the chase

AG2R Citroën had Prodhomme and Champoussin in the break

The favourites waited a long time before making any move. López went at 3 kilometres out and made a good gap, but in the last metres Roglič pulled him back to 4 seconds. Overall leader, Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), managed to hold on to the GC men’s group, losing only a few seconds to keep the red jersey for another day.

Stage win for Romain Bardet

And KOM jersey

Stage winner and KOM, Romain Bardet (DSM): “Honestly, I really took step by step. In the end, no one really wanted to commit to the chase in the breakaway so I had a really hard time to catch [Nicolas Prodhomme]. But I think we really played it smart with Matt [Winston], my sports director. He told me exactly when to attack, on the steepest part. I went as if the finish was 200m away. I gave it a good go, I opened a good gap and I just committed to the finish. The legs were ok I think. Everyone is a bit tired I think, but at the moment, the spirit is great in the team. Wee have three stage wins, multiple podiums with Alberto [Dainese]. I’m so happy to be part of such a group. We try to do our best everyday and this stage win is an amazing one. It’s been a long wait [since my last Grand Tour victory, in 2017]. I didn’t think about it today, I just focused on giving it my all. It went well from the start. I knew that I would have the polka-dot jersey even if I didn’t win.”

Third Vuelta’21 stage win for DSM

Overall leader, Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I suffered quite a lot in the end. I felt it was under control most of the day and I hoped it wouldn’t be too hard in the final climb. It wasn’t too steep, so I gambled, trying to stay as much as possible on the wheels. Guillaume Martin, my closest rival, he tried to attack. But I knew it was a lot of headwind. It worked out today. When we passed 3km to go, I had a really good feeling that it would work out. It is possible [to keep the jersey until the rest day]. It depends how the race is tomorrow. Certainly, my legs feel quite good.”

Stage 14 emotions

Vuelta a España Stage 14 Result:
1. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM in 4:20:36
2. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 0:44
3. Jay Vine (Aus) Alpecin-Fenix
4. Thomas Pidcock (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:12
5. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 1:14
6. Matthew Holmes (GB) Lotto Soudal at 1:16
7. Andrey Zeits (Kaz) BikeExchange at 1:19
8. Kévin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ at 1:46
9. Nicolas Prodhomme (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 2:04
10. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain Victorious at 2:15
11. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates at 2:26
12. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Burgos-BH at 2:43
13. Dylan Sunderland (Aus) Qhubeka NextHash at 4:02
14. Aritz Bagües Kalparsoro (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 5:39
15. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 10:03
16. Miguel Angel López Moreno (Col) Movistar at 10:25
17. Primoz Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 10:29
18. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar
19. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
20. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious
21. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 10:41
22. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 10:42
23. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious
24. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 10:45
25. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 14:
1. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 55:03:17
2. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 0:54
3. Primoz Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 1:36
4. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 2:11
5. Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar at 3:04
6. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious at 3:35
7. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 4:21
8. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 4:49
9. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 4:59
10. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 5:31
11. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 6:04
12. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 6:16
13. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious at 6:47
14. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 7:07
15. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 7:11
16. Juan Pedro Lopez Perez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 10:08
17. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 16:24
18. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 18:40
19. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 19:58
20. Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis at 26:29
21. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 26:53
22. Rafal Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates at 29:30
23. Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar at 29:54
24. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 36:04
25. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 38:27.

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