David Gaudu (Groupama FDJ) won stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana, beating Marc Soler (Movistar) in the final meters to the line, at the top of the Alto de la Farrapona.
For NTT Pro Cycling, stage 11 was about trying to get Gino Mader into the early breakaway. At first, 8 riders got away without our Swiss climber but Mader then countered with 3 other riders and rode across to the leaders.
Unfortunately for the 12 leaders, the King of Mountains Guillaume Martin did not make the break, and with four category 1 climbs on the menu today he put his team to work in chasing down Mader’s group.
On the slopes of the first category 1 climb, Martin’s Cofidis team succeeded in catching Mader’s group and a new break formed over the summit of that first climb. Having burned most of his matches in the first hour and half of racing, Mader then tried to stick with GC contenders as long as he could with support still coming from Michael Valgren.
Our duo manged to stay with the favourites until the foot of the final climb, before they were distanced when Jumbo-Visma upped the pace. Gaudu was able to hold off the charge from the GC group, as well as his former breakaway companions, to win the stage.
Unfortunately for NTT Pro Cycling the sad news for the day was that Nicholas Dlamini had to abandon the Vuelta Espana today after being in difficulty right from the start of the stage. Once gapped and alone after the first climb, there was no coming back to the bunch for our young South African on today’s brutal mountain stage.