Tadej Pogacar may have won the stage, but Primoz Roglic is the star of the day, further extending his overall lead on a final climb that threatened to cause him serious problems. If he can handle the big climbs as well as that then it's going to take something special to stop him winning this race.
Bilbao - Los Machucos
Vuelta a España - 6 September 2019
Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 12:58 on 6 September 2019. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Lopez finally crosses the line, over a minute down on Roglic.
It's Tadej Pogacar who crosses the line first, with Primoz Roglic just behind him.
Roglic is sat on Pogacar's wheel on the downhill run. Who is going to take this?
Roglic and Pogacar are going to compete for the stage win on the flatter run-in. This spectacular climb promised a lot, but it has seriously delivered.
Further back Valverde and Quintana have dropped Lopez - the Astana man looks like being the big GC loser from today's stage.
Roglic overhauls Latour and leads the stage. Astonishing. Absolutely astonishing.
Pierre Latour is still out in-front, but Roglic can see the leader now. It's a magnificent ride by the overall leader.
Roglic is pulling away from his GC rivals along with his compatriot Pogacar.
It's almost slow-motion now. What a climb this is!
Quintana may have been bluffing as he is dropped off the lead group. Race leader Roglic is the man with the strongest legs at the moment, dropping Lopez and Valverde too, but the gaps are very small.
Pierre Latour is off the front and could take this... Armirail's race appears to be run.
Quintana attacks off the front of the peloton and gets a gap. Roglic looks fine for now, but it's getting very tactical.
A quick downhill segment comes as respite for Armirail. The group are a minute back.
Armirail almost grinds to a halt as he hits that 25% ramp. He's weaving all over the place, pedalling squares. Brutal!
Nairo Quintana hits the front of the peloton to push on the pace and try and drop the likes of Roglic from that group.
It's still possible for the peloton to catch the leaders here, with a 25% ramp still to come. The Vuelta really puts these guys through their paces, this climb is eye-watering
This is what we've been waiting for all day! Unfortunately for Saez his solo attack is over as Bruno Armirail overhauls the Spaniard. It's a serious struggle for the new leader though as he hammers his way up this ridiculous climb in almost slow-motion.
Saez is on the approach to Los Machucos and is already grinding. This is absolutely brutal (or 'satanic' as Carlton Kirby says over on Eurosport 1).
The peloton are absolutely flying. Astana are still powering on the front, cutting the gap to the leader to just 3:38. At one point not so long ago the gap was over eight minutes.
Here we go then, Saez is within touching distance of the 'rampas inhumanas', as it's known by the locals. Even I'm getting nervous and it's not me out there!
The leader has finished the last big descent of the day and has Los Machucos on the horizon. The peloton are just 5 minutes behind him now... this is getting tense!
Astana are now hammering it on the front of the peloton. They've taken another 30 seconds out of the break's advantage.
The peloton are absolutely flying and rapidly eating into the time between themselves and the break. There are still five minutes between them and the main break, with Saez out on his own.
Saez's lead is slowly coming down, but he's still got 1'56 over the chasers.
Back in the peloton it's Jumbo-Visma and Tony Martin who are pulling on the front. The lightweight Roglic will fancy this final climb, but gradients of 25% can cause even the strongest riders to crack. It's going to be fascinating.
Saez has 1:23 over the chasing pack, which is quite the effort. There are two small climbs to come before the big ramp to the finish, so he's far from clear yet, but it's an impressive effort by the Spaniard.
Over on Eurosport 1 Sean Kelly is musing about the changing tactics of pro cycling. Solo breaks from so far out would have been considered crazy in his day, King Kelly says, but now it seems to be an increasingly successful ploy.
Hector Saez has launched a solo break off the front and the chase has broken up the breakaway into two distinct groups.
You love to see it!
In a rather unexpected development, the gazebo covering Eurosport's studio at the finish has just blow away thanks to the draft from a police helicopter. Fingers crossed it doesn't rain, or we could see quite a soggy Brian Smith in the post-stage coverage.
Gaps are opening up in the break on the descent, but it'll take a big gap for anyone to stay away on the final climb. The pace is very high on the front though - this is the time to attack.
Here's a little bonus for you - Flecha has ridden up that summit finish to today's stage.
We're on to the fourth climb of the day and the break now has eight minutes. it's pretty much a done deal that the winner will come from this large group, but remember that we've got quite a finish coming up.
That solo attack from Poels didn't last long, and he's back in the lead group, who have just twenty seconds over the larger chasing break.
In other news from the cycling world, Giro champion Richard Carapaz has not been able to secure a visa to race in the upcoming Tour of Britain, which is frankly an absolute disgrace.
It does look like the break has this one covered, with the gap to the peloton now out to over six minutes.
Woah, here we go. Wout Poels launches a solo attack off the front and he has 30 seconds already. Is he trying to do a Chris Froome and pull off a massive solo win? Fascinating tactics.
Carlton Kirby warns that the weather could get messy today, that's something to keep an eye on for later.
That front group is now up to nine members, but the larger group behind are only 37 seconds back. The peloton are 4 minutes back but Jumbo-Visma are pulling hard at the front so there's no guarantee that the break will stay away.
A break has formed off the front of the break, with Thomas de Gendt and Clement Venturini opening up a 34 second gap. Philippe Gilbert and Jesus Herrada are attempting to bridge the gap.
Not that I'm trying to send you elsewhere, but coverage of the stage is now live on Eurosport 1, and there's the extra treat of Adam Blythe in the studio... complete with a typically jazzy outfit.
It's time for a bit of light relief as the breakaway stretches its advantage. Anyone who hasn't seen it, have a watch of episode 2 of Ask Matt Anything, filmed in a cable car in Andorra (it doesn't get much more glamorous than that!).
A break has finally gone and it's a massive one. The gap is up over two minutes and you'd expect this lot to stay away - there's nobody in there in GC contention, but plenty of decent riders, not least yesterday's stage winner Philippe Gilbert and Ineos pair Wout Poels and David de la Cruz.
If you missed it yesterday, race leader Primoz Roglic joined Orla, Matt and Brian in the studio for #TheBreakaway.
We're on to the second big climb of the day, 7.9km at an average of 6.1%. That would test my legs in a big way, but for these guys it's little more than a warm-up ahead of the challenges to come.
Wout Poels attacks off the front as the peloton crests the summit. It's about time Ineos did something - they have nobody in GC contention and have been conspicuous by their absence in the breakaways over recent days.
The break didn't last long as the group are caught before the summit of the first meaningful climb of the day. They never got more than 15 seconds.
Britain's James Knox has an unexpected top-20 spot after 12 stages, but he's wary of today's stage - as he told Eurosport UK's Matt Stephens this morning.
The five-man break still has a small advantage of a little over 10 seconds as they hit the foot of the category 3 climb that begins a day of climbing.
Another group of riders attempts to form a break with the first categorised climb on the horizon, but it's a very small 15 second advantage at this stage.
The peloton haven't allowed any attacks to get away before the first major climb of the day, despite numerous efforts to form the break.
The stage is underway and already there's big news, with Fabio Aru not taking to the start line. The Italian's team have revealed that he has been coping with a muscular injury, and the impact of that injury means he is unable to continue. Aru's GC hopes were over long ago, but he showed some signs of improvement in recent days that gives hope that 2020 could see him return to his previous best.
But don't just take my word for it. Eurosport expert Brian Smith is already at the summit and has filmed a typically charismatic video explaining the context of today's final climb.
The Los Machucos climb is not for the faint-hearted. Known by the locals as the 'rampas inhumanas' this 6.8km climb averages out at 9.2%. But that only tells half the story, as a string of descending sections brings that average down from the multiple stretches well in excess of 10%. The climb kicks off with a 17.5% ramp, with an even more ridiculous 25% segment awaiting in the second km. This climb could end rider's GC hopes today, you're not going to want to miss it.
But after a day of breakaway action today is one for the big guns, with an absolute beast of a stage in northern Spain. Seven categorised climbs await (yes, you heard that correctly, SEVEN!). But everything is building up to the brutal finale on Los Machucos.
Yesterday saw Belgian veteran Philippe Gilbert win a thrilling finish in Stage 12 after a day in the breakaway. It was a remarkable victory for the Deceuninck-QuickStep man, a full six years after his last stage win at the Vuelta.
Hello all, Tom Bennett here - stepping into the very sizeable shoes of Felix Lowe for the day. While Felix is busy with his paternal duties there's an absolute humdinger of a Vuelta stage ahead today, with no fewer than seven categorised climbs. But more of that later...