Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious) won stage 9 of the Vuelta a Espana, taking victory at the summit finish to Alto de Velefique. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) was 2nd on the stage and Enric Mas (Movistar) 3rd.
Stage 9 of the Vuelta a Espana had riders take on mountainous 188km stage in the heat and humidity, as they made their way from Puerto Lumbreras to Alto de Velefique.
For Team Qhubeka NextHash it was a day where all eyes would be on Fabio Aru, and the performance he could put together relative to the other GC contenders.
The stage got off to a fast start start, covering over 50km in the first hour of racing, before a strong break finally got away on the first climb of the stage. The peloton had also shattered to pieces on this climb, with primarily only the GC men and a few teammates each, remaining in the main group. Fabio Aru was there, together with Sergio Henao from Team Qhubeka NextHash.
The peloton then settled into its rhythm behind the break, which did not contain any significant threats to the GC contenders. Caruso went solo on the penultimate climb of the stage, and put in a solo effort masterclass.
The GC contenders arrived at the foot of the final climb just over 4-minutes down on the Italian, and would not reel him in before the finish. Their battle went on though, with the teams of Ineos and Jumbo-Visma taking turns to set the pace for their leaders.
Fabio Aru rode strongly among the top 15 riders in the race on the lower slopes of the climb. Mas and Roglic showed their level was superior to the others though and managed to put time into all the other other contenders. Aru losing just over 2-minutes to the duo, and finished 16th on the stage. The result saw him slot into 14th place on the overall GC, heading into the first rest day of the race.