David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) won stage 17 of the Vuelta a Espana, taking the win ahead of Gino Mader (NTT Pro Cycling).
The penultimate stage of the Vuelta a Espana saw a return to La Covatilla, a climb well-known to our team as in 2018, it was where Ben King took the 2nd of his two Vuelta a Espana stage wins.
The stage started in pretty grim conditions, cold and wet, and this saw a large breakaway group of 33 riders going clear. NTT Pro Cycling got both Stefan de Bod and Mader into that front group.
The UAE-Emirates team was well represented in the break and so they drove the pace. de Bod also contributed to the pace setting, riding in the service of Mader, who has been climbing well all tour.
With 18km to go, and passing through a small cobbled village, Mader countered an attack from a Mark Donovan (Team Sunweb). The accelration by Mader pulled Donavan and Ion Izagirre clear from the break.
The trio pressed on to the foot of La Covatilla with 45 second lead over the rest of the breakaway. The peloton, was close to 4-minutes in arrears. Izagirre began attacking the two younger riders on the early slopes, eventually distancing Donovan.
Mader held firm but the attacking and slowing rhythm set by Izagirre allowed David Gaudu to ride across to the two leaders. Gaudu went over the top and into the lead, Mader tried to follow once again but could just not hold the Frenchman’s wheel.
Gaudu took a fine win while Mader came home in a very good second place.
In the GC race, Hugh Carthy (EF Education First) and Richard Carapaz (Ineos) did their best to put race leader, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) into difficulty but they could not unseat the Slovenian.