Race report

Thymen Arensman 2nd on final mountain stage and up to 6th on GC after strong Team DSM effort

Vuelta a España

The final mountain stage at the Vuelta lay ahead of the riders this afternoon as they rolled out of Moralzarzal, with almost 4000 metres of climbing spread throughout the stage. It was a fierce start to the day with an incredible amount of attacks at the head of the race, with the team riding strongly in support of Thymen Arensman as they tackled the first climb.

Eventually things settled down and the squad regrouped and rallied around Arensman over the next ascents, before the race once again exploded on the second last climb of the day. Flanked by Marco Brenner and Joris Nieuwenhuis for a long portion of the ascent, Arensman showed great legs by following strong attacks by Mas and Evenepoel and crested the ascent in an elite GC group.

However, on the valley road before the final climb things regrouped and those dropped GC riders returned; setting up a fierce finale on the last ascent. A strong tempo was set by UAE and they slowly whittled down the GC group, with Arensman riding strongly to make the split. With Carapaz still 25 seconds ahead as they hit the flatter final four kilometres, Arensman launched a vicious attack from the back of the GC group. Putting his head down and pushing all the way to the line, Arensman took a brilliant second place on the stage, eight seconds behind Carapaz. A nervous few minutes awaited to hear what the gap was too Rodriguez who had been dropped, but the bonus seconds combined with his late attack would see Arensman move up to sixth place on GC for the team ahead of tomorrow’s final stage.

“We knew it would be a really hard day but the whole team was prepared for it,” explained Arensman at the finish. “We made sure in the beginning that a dangerous break didn’t get away. On the first climb it was a really hard pace but Marco and Joris did a really good job. I felt pretty good already on that first climb, I was always in control and not suffering – and I knew I had good legs. During the stage we sat together well and the guys made sure that I had everything I needed. When the second last climb came we knew that the race would explode. It felt really good when Mas made his attack and only Evenepoel followed and then I was the only other one who could quickly get in the wheel – that gave me more confidence. Over the top we were in a small group and of course I went hard but I felt like I still had something left, and then it came back together. UAE then set a nice pace on the last climb and Rodriguez dropped. I asked Matt in the car what the gap was when we were on the plateau, and I just went for it on a little kicker. I went full gas in the last four kilometres and in the end it was enough to take second on the stage and overtake Rodriguez on the GC. To take sixth on GC is a really nice achievement and we’ll make sure to try and hold onto that tomorrow.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “It was a really good day for us. The boys all really came together and rallied around Thymen, looking after him as best as we could throughout the day. In fact the whole team did, we had lots of people throughout the day with bottles at the side of the road and giving us info on the race situation in the car; so we were on top of it as much as we could be. Then when we came over the last climb Thymen launched a really good attack and just went full to the finish. He was able to take a nice second place on the day and move up to sixth on GC. It was just a really good day from everyone here and we can be happy with the result.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 CARAPAZ Richard INEOS Grenadiers 4:41:34 100
2 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM 0:08 40
3 AYUSO Juan UAE Team Emirates 0:13 20
59 BRENNER Marco Team DSM 17:53 -
72 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team DSM 23:15 -
106 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM 31:58 -
117 HVIDEBERG Jonas Iversby Team DSM ,, -