Vuelta a Espana Stage 18 results: Nicholas Roche triumphs, Dumoulin stays strong

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    Tom Dumoulin looks like the next great GC rider – the title Tejay was supposed to take up. (Team Sky)


    Team Sky’s Nicolas Roche managed to out-sprint fellow breakaway survivor Haimar Zubeldia (Trek Factory Racing) to take victory on Stage 18 of the Vuelta a Espana.

    The duo rode away from the 25-strong breakaway on the day’s main climb and held off the field of general classification contenders on the tricky 10km descent to the finish line.

    In the GC battle punches were thrown but none landed, as race leader Tom Dumoulin methodically pegged back numerous attacks from Fabio Aru, Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde to maintain his three-second hold on the red jersey.

    Stage result
    1. Nicholas Roche (Team Sky)
    2. Haimar Zubeldia (Trek Factory Racing) +0
    3. Jose Goncalves (Caja Rural–Seguros RGA) +0.18
    4. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0.38
    5. Esteban Chaves (Orica–GreenEDGE) +0.38

    General classification
    1. Tom Dumoulin (Giant–Alpecin)
    2. Fabio Aru of (Astana) +0:03
    3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +1:15
    4. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff–Saxo) +2:22
    5. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +2:53
    6. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +3:15
    7. Esteban Chaves (Orica–GreenEDGE) +3:30
    8. Daniel Moreno (Katusha) +3:46
    9. Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) +4:10
    10. Louis Meintjes (MTN–Qhubeka) +6:51


    The race for the Vuelta a Espana continues from Roa to Riaza, with Stage 18 featuring a madcap descent to the finish line and all the ingredients for a boil over. Join us on The Roar from 12 midnight for live updates and commentary.

    It will come as cold comfort that today’s stage is classified by the race organisers only as ‘hilly’.

    This bumpy, 204-kilometre stage, one of the longest of the race, will wear on the peloton’s tired legs but could well reward a rider who is willing to lay everything on the line.

    The stage beings out of Roa on a general upward slope before it reaches the first of a pair of third category climbs at the 80 and 100 kilometre marks.

    From there flat roads are left behind in exchange for 80km of over 10 short but leg-burning non-categorised climbs and descents to the foot of today’s main climb up the Puerto de la Quesera.

    The first category climb is 10km long and holds a steady 5-7 per cent gradient for the majority of the time.

    After the summit at the 200km mark it is all downhill until the finish line in Riaza.

    A transition stage like this one made for some of the most exciting racing in this year’s Tour, when Peter Sagan unleashed on the windy descent to Gap in Stage 16. It was edge-of-the-seat racing as the Slovakian national champ gave it everything to chase down eventual stage winner Ruben Plaza Molina.

    With a 10km descent to the finish, today would have been the perfect stage for Sagan to make a breakaway win.

    In his absence the stage will most likely go to whichever rider in the breakaway is willing to dance closest with danger.

    A fast and furious finish awaits.

    The stage is too hilly for the pure sprinters and while the general classification guys could well try to lay an ambush, it is unlikely any of the big names would end up isolated enough for that to work.

    In their absence I’m going to tip Pierre Rolland to attack on the Puerto de la Quesera and descend away. He has been hunting a stage win all Vuelta and today could just be the right set of circumstances to help him across the line.

    But what do you think Roarers? Let me know in the comments below and make sure you join us from 12 midnight for all the action.

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    The Crowd Says (83)

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    • Roar Guru

      Sam Brown said | 2:02am | ! Report

      Thanks for joining me for what ended up being quite a fun but ultimately inconsequential stage.

      A well deserved win for Nicholas Roche, just a shame Zubeldia hasn’t been able to pull off a win too, he has been one of the most exciting riders this Vuelta.

      Tonight ends my involvement with the Vuelta Live Blogs, but be sure to keep stopping into the Roar as Matt, Scott and Bredon take us through to Madrid.

      Goodnight and thanks for joining me.

    • Roar Guru

      Sam Brown said | 2:00am | ! Report

      1. Tom Dumoulin (Giant – Alpecin)
      2. Fabio Aru of (Astana) +0:03
      3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +1:15
      4. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff – Saxo) +2:22
      5. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +2:53
      6. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +3:15
      7. Esteban Chaves (Orica – GreenEDGE) +3:30
      8. Daniel Moreno (Katusha) +3:46
      9. Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) +4:10
      10. Louis Meintjes (MTN – Qhubeka) +6:51

    • Roar Guru

      Sam Brown said | 1:58am | ! Report

      1. Nicholas Roche (Team Sky)
      2. Haimar Zubeldia (Trek) +0
      3. Jose Goncalves (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) +0.18
      4. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0.38
      5. Esteban Chaves (Orica – Greenedge) +0.38

    • Roar Guru

      Sam Brown said | 1:51am | ! Report

      Great win for the irishman Stephen Roche.

      • Roar Guru

        Sam Brown said | 1:52am | ! Report

        And by Stephen I mean his son Nicholas. It isn’t the 80s

    • Roar Guru

      Sam Brown said | 1:50am | ! Report

      Goncalvez holds on for 3rd and Valverde leads the GC group over the line.

      No change in the lead despite a number of attampted flurries.

    • Roar Guru

      Sam Brown said | 1:49am | ! Report

      Zubeldia is behind Roche, Roche opens up the sprint early and Zubeldia cannot come around him.

    • Roar Guru

      Sam Brown said | 1:49am | ! Report

      The GC group has swollen up, a few riders catching up on the descent.

      Gonzalcvez is still in between the leaders, there is a time bonus for third if Dumoulin wants it.

    • Roar Guru

      Sam Brown said | 1:47am | ! Report

      2km to go,. Zubeldia v Roche.

      I’d have to back Roche to take the sprint.

    • Roar Guru

      Sam Brown said | 1:46am | ! Report

      Dumoulin is now attacking and flying away from everyone.

    • Roar Guru

      Sam Brown said | 1:45am | ! Report

      Danny Moreino attacks for Katusha and is followed by Valverde.

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