Vuelta a Espana #12: So close yet so far as Omar Fraile comes 2nd

Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal) won his 2nd stage of this year’s Vuelta a Espana by taking the spoils on stage 12 today. Omar Fraile came close for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka once again but had to settle for 2nd place.  Jose Joquin Rojas (Movitar) finished 3rd.

The 12th stage of the Vuelta a Espana didn’t get off to a great start for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka as Serge Pauwels wasn’t able to take the start. Our Belgian climber finished last yesterday, totally empty and suffering from illness. Sadly, he was not able to recover overnight, leaving our African Team to start with just 4 riders.

Our African Team didn’t give in though and with today’s stage suiting the breakaway, Fraile made sure to be part of the 14 rider move that went clear after 55km of racing. As the gap ballooned to 9-minutes it was clear they would make it to the line and decide the stage. There were 2 climbs near the back end of the stage, a cat 1 followed by a cat 2 and then a 16km descent to the finish.

The break stayed pretty much intact over the cat 1 and started the final climb together. Fraile was the first to attack which saw 6 riders go clear. Marczynski was the next to move and nobody could follow the Polish rider as he reached the summit of the final climb with a 1-minute lead. The chase effort was disturbed when Brendon Canty (Cannondale-Drapc) crashed out and Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe) punctured.

After winning stage 6, it was Marczynski’s 2nd stage win at this year’s Vuelta with Fraile winning the sprint from the chasers, unfortunately it was only for 2nd place. Fraile was awarded the most combative rider on the stage though. Late drama in the GC race saw Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) attack the main group and Chris Froome (Team Sky) crashed twice. In the end, Froome did well to limit his losses and kept the overall lead.

Omar Fraile – Rider
Today, it was so difficult to make it into the breakaway with non-stop attacking for the first 50 km. In fact, I was the last rider to make it across to the front group. I felt good all day. My legs were strong on the penultimate climb but unfortunately, I suffered from a few cramps on the last climb when the Lotto-Soudal rider attacked so I decided to keep my own pace towards the top. In the final part, we rode really hard but it was not possible to catch him again. However, I’m still happy because last week I was sick and almost going home. We are only four riders left in the team now but we will continue to fight. There are still more opportunities for us.