A grandiose final for this last online stage of the Vuelta, Saturday September 4th. And in this game, the French Clément Champoussin (AG2R-Citroën) took matters in hand 1.5 km from the finish in the last ascent to Mos. Castro de Herville. A resounding success after having reviewed all the favorites and securing a first stage victory in Galicia on a Grand Tour. At 23, the Niçois, in the morning breakaway, beat all the top names in the Tour of Spain and allowed tricolor cycling to win their third stage victory in this edition.
Before the final individual time trial, Sunday, in the streets of Santiago de Compostela, the podium of the Tour of Spain, still dominated by Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) in front of Enric Mas (Movistar), saw Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious) regained third place from Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) in real distress on the roads of Galicia. The Slovenian therefore runs towards a third consecutive final victory over the Vuelta.
In a stage profile, with a classic look, marked by a rapid series of passes in the second part, a group of 16 riders at the front broke away with Michael Storer, Romain Bardet (DSM), Gino Mäder, Mark Padun (Bahrain-Victorious) or even Clément Champoussin (AG2R-Citroën). A group of attackers destined to explode like Ryan Gibbons (UAE Team Emirates) did when approaching the Alto de Prado, in the last thirty kilometers.
Long alone in the lead, the South African rider held his own against the pursuers and other favorites until three kilometers from the finish. Taken over by the leaders of the peloton (Primoz Roglic, Enric Mas, Simon Yates, Jack Haig), Ryan Gibbons was then stolen the show by the young Habs Clément Champoussin, always kept in contact with the group of pursuers in the final. Coming back like an arrow on the group of leaders, the Niçois took advantage of a moment of hesitation to take flight in the final climb.
A last kilometer worked hard to afford a first victory on a Grand Tour in his career, after only two seasons in professional. “I hung on to the favorites group and did it like a clock. When I got a little over a kilometer from the finish I was lucky enough to have the favorites group look at each other. as I am not dangerous (in the general classification), I told myself that I had to go fast. The last kilometer was not very hard so once I had taken a little lead, I managed the last 150 meters which were steeper “, he said on arrival. A moment of glory to overtake Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) at 6 “and Adam Yates (Ineos-Grenadiers) at 8” on the line.
The race was also unbridled at the rear. As the last sixty kilometers approached, the teammates of Egan Bernal (Ineos-Grenadiers) – still looking for a place on the podium – blew up the peloton at their expense. A little over ten kilometers later, Gino Mäder, Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious), Enric Mas (Movistar), Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and Adam Yates (Ineos-Grenadiers) passed the summit of the third difficulty of the day 40 seconds ahead of the Colombian duo Egan Bernal et Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar).
A tactic that paid off for Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious), fourth overall before the start of the stage, and who regained third place by pushing back Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar), then on the last step of the podium with 1’43 “ahead of the Australian this morning, more than four minutes twenty kilometers from the finish.
A blow from Trafalgar that fell like a grenade on the 27-year-old Colombian, who, seeing the podium slipping from him, even abandoned the race on his own in the final. The strategy of perfection for the Bahrain-Victorious, who replaced the Australian Jack Haig on the podium and his teammate Gino Mäder in fifth place overall with the white jersey to be won.
An earthquake for the podium without hindering the Slovenian Primoz Roglic, solid leader of the Vuelta one day from the end, with more than 2’38 “ahead of his Spanish runner-up Enric Mas and 4’48” on Jack Haig, the big winner of the day.
On the French side, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), eighth overall, secured an almost final place in the Top 10, before a final lap of 33.8 km in the form of a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.