Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal) crossed the line ahead of his breakaway companion, Sven Erik Bystrøm (UAE Team Emirates) to take the victory on stage 18 of La Vuelta a Espana today, just ahead of the chasing bunch. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) placed third.
Stage 18 was a relatively flat stage, a day earmarked for the sprinters. After a week of predominantly mountains, the 186.1km stage stretched from Ejea de los Caballeros to Lleida and offered some relief to the peloton and a chance for the fast men to test their legs.
A break was established after 3km of racing and three riders made it away. The sprint teams worked hard on the front of the peloton for the duration of the day, but the break managed to just outwit the peloton and take the top two spots by the matter of a meter. Sagan led the pack home for third place, with our South African sprinter, Ryan Gibbons taking 10th place on the stage.
Tomorrow the race moves to the mountains of Andorra, where the GC battle will once again hot up.
Ryan Gibbons – Rider
It was a fast day as their was also a tailwind for the majority of the day. The wind was fairly strong all day, so it did add an unnecessary stress, the whole time the peloton was on edge. The breakaway played it very well today. I think they held us knowing we wouldn’t want to go too fast to close them and then in the last 20kms they just really opened up. Kudos to them. The final stretch was really tricky, a lot of corners and then a deceiving false flat to the end. It was a sprint, but it was a long effort. I was too far back from the last corner and I had to scramble for what I could get.