Following the impressive efforts of Sonny Colbrelli at Tour of Benelux, Jack Haig and Gino Mäder made their way up in the GC at Vuelta as Haig moved onto the podium while Mäder moved into the top 5. Gino Mäder also moved into the white jersey in the best young rider classification ahead of the Vuelta finale, a 33.8km time trial.
While Stage 20, didn’t have any high mountains, it was one that had the potential to shake up the GC covering 202km with over 4,300 vertical meters. An early breakaway formed, which included Mark Padun and 15 other riders. The break had a gap of 11 minutes to the peloton but was quickly slashed by work in the peloton by Ineos Grenadiers.
On the hardest climb of the day, Alto de Mougás, there were a limited group of riders left, mainly of GC contenders. Attacks started and pressure by Gino Mader saw Lopez (Movistar) who was in third at the start of the day drop along with Egan Bernal, who was leading the best young rider classification. With Jack on the virtual podium, Mark Padun was then called back from the break to help Jack and Gino to the foot of the final climb.
On the final climb Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) a minute behind Jack in the GC, putting the pressure on, with several attacks, however, Jack was able to respond. At the end, Champoussin (AG2R Citroen), a member of the breakaway won the stage and Haig crossed the line in 5th losing no time to Yates, moving him onto the podium ahead of the final stage. Gino Mader’s effort also moved him up from 8th to 5th in the overall and put the white jersey firmly on his shoulders going into tomorrow’s time trial.
Jack Haig:” The day started off relatively straight forward considering all the other days we’ve had in the Vuelta with the breakaway getting away quite early on with no one in GC, so we had a pretty relaxing ride, until about 100km into the race until the first climbs and Ineos picked up the pace, which I was assuming was to set up Bernal as we were quite close in the fourth position. On the longest climb of the day, there was a rolling plateau where people started to gamble and it just happened to be that Gino and myself were in the perfect position.
I knew that if we wanted to get away, we needed one of the two Movistar riders, which ideally would be Enric and one of the two Ineos riders. It basically meant the group behind didn’t do any chasing. Gino did an awesome job going down the descent and the flatter section until we caught Mark. They both did an awesome ride to the foot of the last climb. I knew Yates was going to attack on the steeper gradients of the climb to get an advantage over me ahead of the TT, but I managed to limit my losses, and now there is a minute between us ahead of tomorrow. It’s a nice position to be in tomorrow, but it’s definitely not safe and done”
Gino Mäder:” Today was a crazy day. We had Padun in the breakaway, which in the end really saved our day. In the beginning I was a bit worries as the pace wasn’t really high and Jumbo was looking really strong and had it all under the control. But once Ineos decided to put on the pressure in the race it was full gas, and everyone was on the limit. Then Yates decided to go, it was just full gas. I knew I was here for Jack and I wanted to get him on the podium, and I think we achieved that, and I got a little extra, so it’s been a really nice day.
It wasn’t in my thoughts to get the white jersey and I only thought about taking Jack to the finish and lose as little time as possible. With Bernal’s gap I had to wait a long three minutes for the confirmation of moving into the jersey and so I also get something out of today.”
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— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com