The penultimate stage of the Tour of Spain 2021, which whirled around Vigo, along 202 kilometers bristling like an Ardennes classic, was won by Clément Champoussin, the biggest victory of his young career, ahead of Primoz Roglic and Adam Yates.
But the great work of this stage first took place in the background while a breakaway animated the head of the race. We saw an expulsion, that of Miguel Angel Lopez from the podium, while the Movistar rider occupied the provisional 3rd place overall this morning. The trap that closed on the Colombian was placed by the Ineos-Grenadiers team. 57 km from the finish, in the ascent of the alto de Mougas, third of the five difficulties of the day, Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers, 5th overall) placed a first attack, followed in his wheel by Miguel Angel Lopez .
First trompe-l’oeil movement of an action in two acts: a few hundred meters later, when the group of suitors returned to the two Colombians, it was Adam Yates’ turn (Ineos Grenadiers, 6th in general) to counter. In his wheel, two Bahrain-Victorious riders (Jack Haig, 4th, and his teammate Gino Mäder) accompanied by Primoz Roglic, the leader of the general, and his runner-up Enric Mas.
And here is this group of five, conveniently served by the work of Mäder – who understood all the interest for his leader to climb on the podium – which widened a large gap quickly on Lopez. They then took over twice the riders who had started at the front since midday and arrived at the bottom of the final ascent with 1’43 ” behind the lone man in the lead at the moment, Ryan Gibbons. .
Earlier in the stage, they were 16 to have escaped, and to have counted to twelve minutes. Among them, Clément Champoussin, Lilian Calmejane (AG2R-Citroën) and Romain Bardet (DSM). Long traversed by attacks, the group of escaped men finally split in two. A first group of 10 riders (which still included the three Frenchmen) went to the front. And that’s where the solitary Gibbons raid started from afar, 55 km from the line, before being resumed within 3 km.
And 1.5 km from the finish, Clément Champoussin attacked sharply and managed to keep enough lead over the group of favorites.