GC teams smother Aru & Lindeman breakaway hopes at La Vuelta stage 18

Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) won stage 18 of La Vuelta a Espana, crossing the line solo at the summit of the Altu d’el Gamoniteiru. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) finished 2nd and Enric Mas (Movistar) was 3rd.

Stage 18 of the Vuelta a Espana was the Queen stage of the race, with over 4400 meters of climbing included in the 162km stage from Salas to Altu d’el Gamoniteiru.

Once again Team Qhubeka NextHash were committed to making the main break of the day and were very active right from the start of the stage. Bert-Jan Lindeman was in the first 4-rider attack of the day. Once they had a small gap of 15 seconds, another 27 riders came across to them and we were sure not to miss out on that move either, with Fabio Aru part of the group.

The big lead group then began to work together to try and establish a lead, but Bahrain Victorious took up the reigns in the peloton. The gap got to a maximum of 4 and half minutes before it then started to decrease.

Michael Storer (DSM) took off from the front group on the 2nd category 1 climb of the stage, in a bid to increase the advantage over the peloton. The Australian showed the impressive form that has already taken him to two stage wins at this Vuelta by riding 2-minutes into the initial breakaway group.

On the penultimate climb of the stage, Aru then attacked from the chasing group in a last gasp attempt to try and stay ahead of the GC contenders chasing behind but it was to no avail. He was caught by the top of the climb and Storer would also be caught on the final summit finish climb.

A late attack from Lopez with 3km to go would be the stage winning blow but Roglic had no problem in retaining the overall race lead. It was yet another valiant effort from the Team Qhubeka NextHash riders, present in the break and then all finishing safely within the time limit.