SHOULD SAM BENNETT HAVE BEEN RELEGATED FOR DANGEROUS SPRINTING?

Bennett relegated!

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Deceuninck Quick-Step’s Sam Bennett was first to cross the line at La Vuelta today, but was relegated from the results after what the race organisers called 'irregular sprinting' and so Pascal Ackermann (Bora Hansgrohe) steps up to the top place on the podium.

GC, KOM unchanged

Roglic was able to get back in the pack before the finale, and with no king of the mountains points of any kind, all the other classifications remain unchanged.

Here's your top 5

1. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step)
2. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe)
3. Gerben Thijssen (Lotto Soudal)
4. Max Kanter (Team Sunweb)
5. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates)

Gerben Thijssen has been a revelation so far this Vuelta, bagging two podiums from two flat stages.

And Sam Bennett wins the stage!

He just timed his effort perfectly again. Let the other sprinters light it up then overhauled them all in the very last metres of the stage.

Bora did everything they could for Ackermann, it just wasn't enough.

Jasper Philipsen coming strong!

Bennett emerges from the peloton.

Flamme rouge

That agonising hairpin is almost a 180 degree turn.

All of a sudden it's Ineos and Carapaz taking up the pace setting.

Deceuninck attempt to divebomb the turn but don't quite make it, and Bora resume the front. This looks great for Ackermann!

2km to go – Strung out!

These turns have really thinned the peloton down now..

3km to go – Frenetic stuff

As Lotto pull off it's Bora and their Ackermann who take the lead.

5km to go – Tricky corner, Lotto Soudal hammering it home

But all are through it safely. They then have a nasty hairpin to navigate.

We have one more tricky bit of road furniture at the flamme rouge to come.

15km to go – Break is caught

It was the rider from 'home team' Burgos BH that was last to be caught and so it is Juan Felipe Osorio who should secure the prize for today's most aggressive rider.

Still soporifically slow in the peloton at the moment with no carrot for them to chase. Maybe we'll see an opportunist attack off the front?

Primoz Roglic has just changed bikes but it's not going to take him long to catch back up to the peloton.

25km to go – 35" of the gap left

Wel this is spirited stuff from the boys out front, they still have a little bit of a gap and the kilometres left in the stage are ever dwindling away.

35km to go – Give 'em a hand...

Our two brave breakawayistas receive a warm round of applause as they pass through the finish line for the first time today. They'll now make a 35-kilometre loop and get back here for the stage finish.

Their lead is only 48 seconds now, so I don't really fancy their chances of staying out there until we get back to Aguilar de Campoo.

45km to go – Final hour of racing

Fasten your seatbelts folks, we're into the final hour of racing.

We should see a furious arrival into the finish town of Aguilar de Campoo as the different sprint teams fight for the best positions on the final straight.

60km to go – Intermediate sprint

The breakaway take first and second place over the intermediate, then about three minutes later Dylan van Baarle hops out of the peloton to eat up the final available point. Why? Your guess is as good as mine? Primoz Roglic's lead in that jersey looks almost unassailable already – although if Bennett does win today and tomorrow he'll close the gap a wee bit.

Very vast agricultural landscape now, with sparse, muddy fields and a crispness in the air that almost seems to permeate the television screen.

70km to go – Feeding time

The Deceuninck boys take on some musettes and the gap yawns out to 3'11" again.

Lovely terrain we are winding our way through at the moment. Lush and green and – in the far distance looming out of the haze – the sight of the Picos de Europa, Spain's most beautiful mountain range, so called because they were the last part of Europe Spanish sailors would be able to see if they looked back, as they set a course for the New World.

80km to go – Deceuninck leading the bunch

As they have been for much of the day, with a bit of token help from the riders of Bahrain McLaren. The gap has winnowed down to below two minutes for the first time since it went away.

90km to go – Ackermann brought down

There was one other rider taken down in the same incident, and it may well have been one of the stage favourites, Pascal Ackermann. He got up, dusted himself down and resumed pedalling much faster than Saez, so there's no reason to suspect it'll effect his sprint later on. He is seeing the race doctor now.

The break have been reeled back to within two-and-a-half minutes, which is really not very much. Subsequently, the peloton are puttng the brakes on to keep those lads out there...

And there's been another crash, this time for two AG2R riders.

100km to go – Hector Saez hits the deck

The Spaniard from Caja Rural has been brought down, perhaps after making contact with the kerb. He has taken some medical assistance and got back onto his bike now – although he must've taken quite a crack on the noggin because the impact tore a strip of the outer 'casing' off of his helmet.

Lucky that wasn't worse, I think.

115km to go – Fast favourites

Unless the duo of Bagües and Osorio can pull off quite a famous upset then we'll be seeing one of the sprinters win in Aguilar de Campoo this evening.

Sam Bennett, the man who won the green jersey in France a few weeks ago, has already won one stage here at La Vuelta, beating the rest of the sprint field by a country mile.

Looking to knock the Irishman off his perch as the de facto fastest man at the race is Pascal Ackermann, the German sprinter for Bora Hansgrohe. Also in with a shout are Jasper Philipsen, the Belgian on UAE Team Emirates, Jakub Mareczko from CCC Team and Magnus Cort Nielsen of EF Pro Cycling. Magnus Cort has been throwing a lot of energy into getting in breaks at La Vuelta which suggest he doesn't really fancy the sprint stages as his best opportunity to win.

Now, with Hugh Carthy in play for GC, it'll be interesting to see how Cort is deployed in the final. Bodyguard for Carthy, or sprint leader?

125km to go – Is Froome the Federer of cycling?

Our sometime Eurosport colleague Alberto Contador has been discussing Chris Froome's role here at La Vuelta for Team Ineos.

The Kenyan-born rider has been put to work as a domestique after falling immediately out of GC contention in the opening handful of stages. He has gone about his business well since then, putting in some big shifts to tow the peloton along. You can read Contador's comments on the change in role from supreme leader to humble servant in this piece by Ben Snowball.

Contador compares 'most important rival' Froome to Federer

135km to go – Triple birthday party!

Today's stage, which for a large proportion of the peloton is a rest day in all but name, also happens to be a particularly special day for Primoz Roglic, Emils Liepins and Martin Salmon – all of whom are celebrating their birthdays.

The peloton is totally unfussed about this break and the leading duo has over five minutes now.

153km to go – Two man break

The flag is waved to commence the stage proper and almost immediately, two riders escape up the road. Aritz Bagües (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Juan Felipe Osorio (Burgos-Bh) are the sacrificial lambs today, it looks like.

This edition of La Vuelta has been characterised by fierce contests to get in the break and a genuine feeling that the break could win from almost any of the stages we've seen so far. Today, however, not so much.

The Spanish pair have opened a gap of 90 seconds.

Wooah-oh! We're halfway there...

Or we will be by the end of today, anyway. La Vuelta is just 18 stages this year after organisers scrapped the Grand Depart in the Netherlands, so this, stage nine, represents the halfway point.

It's also one half of a double header of sprinter-friendly stages, as we have another flattish parcours to deal with tomorrow. It may be flat, but in northern Spain you're never too far from a mountain – and this stage will finish within sight of the mighty Picos de Europa national park, home of the mighty Angliru.

157km to go – We are heading for kilometre zero...

Hola, todos! This stage is a shorty and a sprinty, with an expected victory for the Irish winning machine, Sam Bennett.

The roads are open and exposed at points, with the potential for some echelon action if the wind gets up.

Roglic wins Stage 8 to slash Carapaz’s lead

Primoz Roglic reasserted his authority in Stage 8 of La Vuelta by surging clear of Richard Carapaz on the Alto de Moncavillo to take a second win of the race and move within 13 seconds of the Ecuadorian's red jersey.

After Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) put in a dig in the final kilometre of the 160km stage through the beautiful region of La Rioja in northern Spain, Jumbo-Visma's Roglic, in the green jersey, threw down the hammer with a counterpunch which landed his rival on the canvas.

The Slovenian powerhouse made light of the double-digit gradient of a deciding climb making its first appearance on the Vuelta, Roglic coming home 13 seconds clear of the battling Carapaz to move from fourth to second in the general classification.

Ireland's Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) took third place ahead of Russia's Aleksandr Vlasov of Astana to retain his third place on GC, while Britain's Hugh Carthy, who had ridden clear earlier on the climb after being launched by his EF Pro Cycling teammate Michael Woods, faded to fifth place as he dropped two places to fourth, now 44 seconds in arrears.

Highlights: Roglic wins to claw back time atop Alto del Moncalvillo

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