La Vuelta 2020: Wellens pips Woods in thrilling breakaway finish, Hugh Carthy still in GC contention
Tim Wellens won Stage 14 of La Vuelta, beating Michael Woods in a technical uphill sprint after a successful breakaway. There were no notable changes in the general classification as all three riders on the podium finished in the same group.
Tim Wellens of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal / Celebration / Michael Woods of Canada and Team EF Pro Cycling / during the 75th Tour of Spain 2020, Stage 14 a 204,7km stage from Lugo to Ourense / @lavuelta / #LaVuelta20 / La Vuelta
Published 04/11/2020 at 15:54 GMT | Updated 04/11/2020 at 19:03 GMT
Tim Wellens produced a tactically superb uphill sprint to win from a breakaway in Stage 14 of La Vuelta.
Michael Woods of EF Pro Cycling pushed Wellens close on the run-in, but the Belgian had enough to hold on during a technical run-in.
Primoz Roglic attempted to take time back from his podium rivals Richard Carapaz and Hugh Carthy in the final kilometre, but the Ineos rider clung to the Slovenian’s wheel and Carthy finished towards the back of the same group to maintain his third place.
Over two weeks into the race and there was finally a chance for a breakaway, and a handful of the race’s premium puncheurs took full advantage.
Zdenek Stybar and Marc Soler attempted to make it a two-man scrap for the win, but Tim Wellens was able the first to bridge the gap from the chasing group of Dylan van Baarle, Michael Woods and Thymen Arensman, and the remaining trio made it a six-rider group coming under the flamme rouge.
Further back down the road it was a fast-paced but relatively straightforward day for the GC rivals, with Roglic retaining his lead and no changes to the time gaps between the Slovenian and chasing pair Carapaz and Carthy.
Belgium's Wellens who also won Stage 5 of the Vuelta was sharp on the technical twisty ascent to the finish. He said: "It's not easy to win, my companions in the breakaway were really strong riders.
"I knew I had to take the last corner in first position, I saw Woods [get close to the] finish and the finish line was there and I crossed it first.
"The whole day I thought Dylan van Baarle was the best, but then he sped up a bit and I saw Woods and Soler had really good legs."
Tim Wellens - 'I felt Woods coming but the finish came in time'
While Woods was the initiator of the day's early breakaway group at 60km in - setting a gap of five minutes to the peloton for much of the day - it was Wellens who attacked with 10km to go, triggering the split in the six-man lead group.
Woods, Van Barrle and Arensman were on the back foot, with Arensman, 20, riding his first grand tour and superbly chasing a 10-second gap with just 2km to go as the road became technical and the peloton firmly settled over two minutes behind.
When they closed the gap, it was an equally matched sprint between Woods and Wellens, but as the finish line was immediately ahead of a left-hand bend, Wellens took the inside racing line, while Woods was forced to go wide and finish just behind.
Despite a quiet day in the GC battle, Carapaz remains 39 seconds behind Roglic in red, and Hugh Carthy eight second adrift With four stages to go until the race reaches Madrid, it's still all to play for with long days on the horizon starting tomorrow with a punchy 230km slog over five categorised climbs.