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Sam Bennett narrowly misses out on third Vuelta stage victory

Nairo Quintana jumped from sixth to second in the general classification as Philippe Gilbert took his second stage win of the 2019 Vuelta.

Sam Bennett (file pic).
Sam Bennett (file pic).

PHILIPPE GILBERT TRIUMPHED on a dramatic and windy 17th stage of the Vuelta a Espana, edging out Ireland’s Sam Bennett, as general classification leader Primoz Roglic saw his advantage cut.

Jumbo-Visma rider Roglic started Wednesday’s action two minutes and 48 seconds ahead of Alejandro Valverde, but by the time he reached Guadalajara it was Nairo Quintana who represented his closest rival.

The riders endured significant crosswinds on the flat 219.6-kilometre route from Aranda de Duero, with Quintana embracing the challenge as the Colombian went from seven minutes and 43 seconds behind to just 2mins, 24secs off the pace.

That effort moved Quintana up from sixth to climb above Movistar team-mate Valverde, who dropped to third after finishing in the same group as the red jersey.

Deceuninck-Quick Step’s Gilbert was the ultimate beneficiary at the end of an eventful day in the saddle, taking his second stage victory of this year’s Vuelta, having been first across the line on stage 12.

Carrick-on-Suir’s Bennett, who has already won two stages at this year’s Vuelta, was second for Bora-Hansgrohe, while Gilbert’s team-mate Remi Cavagna completed the podium.

The tone was set early on by a sizeable breakaway group that refused to relent, opening up a big gap over a field which became increasingly fragmented.

Roglic was left frustrated by the chasing group’s failure to reel in the leading pack, who rode hard to ensure they would not be caught.

When the time to make a sprint for the finish arrived, it was Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quick Step) who went off the front first, but he faded and was hauled in by Bennett, who in turn was caught before the end by the cool-headed Belgian Gilbert.

Quintana’s hugely impressive shift came to an end 10 seconds after Gilbert crossed the line and that left a wait of more than five minutes for Roglic and company to roll over the line.

STAGE RESULT

1. Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 4:20:15
2. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) +00.02
3. Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +00.02
4. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) +00.02
5. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00.02

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification 

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 66:43:36
2. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +02:24
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +02:48

Points Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 117
2. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 94
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 92

King of the Mountains

1. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R La Mondiale) 50
2. Angel Madrazo (Burgos BH) 44
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team INEOS) 29

WHAT’S NEXT?

Thursday’s stage sees a return to the mountains on the 117.5km route from Colmenar Viejo to Becerril de la Sierra, which takes in four intermediate climbs, including two ascents of the Morcuera.

- Omni

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