Glorious return to cyclocross for Van Empel
Fem van Empel has marked her return to the field with a victory. The 21-year-old...
On the first day of rest, Sepp Kuss is still donning the Vuelta a España's red leader's jersey. The American of Team Jumbo-Visma was always alert in a chaotic stage. Lennard Kämna won the stage from the early breakaway.
The ninth stage got off to a strong start. A group of thirteen riders got away from the peloton. Among these twelve were no less than seven riders of Team Jumbo-Visma Kuss, Roglic, Jonas Vingegaard, Dylan van Baarle, Wilco Kelderman, Attila Valter and Jan Tratnik showed that they were alert early on. The classification riders of the black and yellow Dutch formation showed they were on the right track, even after a later break brought on by a strong wind.
Due to a dangerous situation just below the summit of the final climb, the Collado de la Cruz Caravaca, the Vuelta organisers were forced to take GC times two kilometres from the original line. Roglic passed this point, with Vingegaard and Remco Evenepoel in his wake and general classification leader Kuss trailing them at a few metres. The American retained his lead in the general classification and will wear the red jersey in Tuesday's time trial, the day after the first rest day.
"We knew we had to be on top in the opening stage”, Kuss said. "We were right at the front of the peloton. Then, we created a gap. I had a really tough day. Fortunately, my legs were strong enough to consistently ride at the front of the pack. It was a nervous day, partly because of the wind, but I got through it well. The rest day is convenient, but the focus is already on Tuesday's time trial.”
"The focus is already on Tuesday's time trial"
Roglic also proved to have good legs in the ninth stage. "The pace was high from the beginning. After we were caught the first time, I thought we could ride relatively calmly to the foot of the final climb. But nothing could be further from the truth. On the last climb, I had the legs to attack. It was quite a tough climb. It's good to go into the first rest day like this; I think we've got through the first nine days in a good and positive way.”