Race report

Romain Bardet on the attack on stage 9 of La Vuelta

Vuelta a España

Romain Bardet was one of the main animators of the ninth stage at La Vuelta, the most difficult stage of the race so far with over 4000 metres of climbing over four categorised climbs, eventually finishing outside of the top placings in 28th after being caught on the final ascent by the group fo GC favourites.

The difficult stage profile was made even tougher by the very fast pace set by the peloton over the first two hours of racing with nearly 100 kilometres of attacking before the race finally settled into a rhythm. Covering the moves in numbers once again, Team DSM were represented in the lead group of 11 with two riders, Bardet and Martijn Tusveld.

On the second categorised climb of the stage, a long 29 kilometre ascent, the front group split with one rider moving clear and Bardet and Tusveld riding in pursuit with two others. Tusveld eventually dropped off the pace after a strong effort supporting Bardet.

On the early slopes of the final climb the GC group behind Bardet picked up the pace and eventually closed the gap with around six kilometres to go. He dug deep to follow as the attacks continued to come but eventually slipped back to finish 28th on the day.

“It took almost 100 kilometres to go today and I really didn’t want to miss it so I invested a lot in the first three hours of racing,” explained Romain Bardet after the finish. “When we made it the gap never really increased and I already felt that I’d maybe done a bit too much to join the break and Caruso was too strong today so when he went the stage win had gone. We continue to try our best.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “It was a big fight for the breakaway today and the guys did a really good job in super hot temperatures of up to 38 degrees so it certainly wasn’t easy in that first hour and 50 minutes. Romain got into a group of six and behind Martijn had actually crashed and had been chasing for about 20 kilometres but as he got back on he went straight through and made the chase group and they combined forces at the front.

“The break settled and they only had a small gap but we thought it would be enough, but behind the GC fight kicked off and the gap started to come down quite quickly which saw Caruso attacking out the group. Eventually we saw our stage win chance had gone so we reset and refocus now on weeks two and three.”



Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 CARUSO Damiano Bahrain - Victorious 5:03:14 100
2 ROGLIČ Primož Team Jumbo-Visma 1:05 40
3 MAS Enric Movistar Team 1:06 20
28 BARDET Romain Team DSM 8:01 -
46 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 16:49 -
70 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 27:07 -
128 HAGA Chad Team DSM 32:55 -
131 DENZ Nico Team DSM ,, -
135 STORER Michael Team DSM ,, -
137 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
159 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 38:04 -