Race report

Thymen Arensman fights to 7th on Sierra de La Pandera, Marco Brenner in the break

Vuelta a España

Heading into this weekend’s action, the bunch were faced with the first of two big mountain-top finishes, with today’s stage ending atop Sierra de La Pandera and what was essentially a 22 kilometre long final climb. However, before reaching the majority of the climbing which came in the last 60 kilometres a fierce battle on predominantly flat roads ensued. A super high pace saw the bunch split with Thymen Arensman, Marco Brenner and John Degenkolb making the first part for the team. The pace stayed high and any attacks were reeled in before a group of eight finally managed to go clear after 80 kilometres, with Brenner quick to counter attack and bridge with Garcia; forming a break of ten.

The breakaway’s advantage soon ballooned out to around three minutes and 45 seconds where it held steady. It did go out a bit further to four minutes and 30 seconds at one point but it quickly came back down and heading into the last 20 kilometres it stood at three minutes and 20 seconds. As a result the pace in both the breakaway and GC group was high as they hit the penultimate ascent, and Brenner had to let go of the wheels. He returned to the bunch where Degenkolb and Jonas Iversby Hvideberg had positioned Arensman and Joris Nieuwenhuis well, with the latter and Brenner helping Arensman on the ascent before they too dropped.

A quick descent followed before the final categorised climb to the line. Things started off steady in the GC group but after around one kilometre a really strong tempo started to shred the bunch, with Arensman riding brilliantly to make the elite selection of eight. Roglic attacked at around four kilometres to go and that exploded things even further with riders in ones and twos all over the road. Arensman dug deep and paced his way to the top, giving everything he had to finish the stage in seventh place and move up one spot on the GC ahead of tomorrow’s altitude finish at Sierra Nevada.

“It was a pretty hard start today and the bunch split,” explained Arensman. “We never panicked and were always there in the front. The two groups came together and there was a lot of attacking but we were always in control, no stress. In the end a group went clear and Marco went across but the peloton kept it close and Marco’s group didn’t get a lot of time. The guys in the bunch kept a good eye on me and I could cool myself down really well because of them. In the final it was a hard pace but I felt good today. I’m starting to feel better and better. I felt good on the steep part and tried to follow the best guys but when it is really steep then it’s harder for me. I maybe got a bit too excited and in the last three kilometres I was suffering but in the end I still gained a lot of time on some of the other GC contenders. We can be proud of the climb and it’s a nice result with some hard stages still to come.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston continued: “It was a really nice stage there from Thymen. We had Marco in the break which was good for us and we could sit in behind. Thymen then did a really good job on the final climb. We had some good positioning work throughout the day by the team, bringing him into a nice position onto that climb so he could really race for it. He did a good job there and we’re up to 11th now, so we’ll keep chasing that top ten.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 CARAPAZ Richard INEOS Grenadiers 4:09:27 100
2 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel Astana Qazaqstan Team 0:08 40
3 ROGLIČ Primož Jumbo-Visma ,, 20
7 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM 0:51 -
86 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team DSM 18:08 -
100 BRENNER Marco Team DSM 19:48 -
104 HVIDEBERG Jonas Iversby Team DSM 22:46 -
110 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM 24:03 -