2022 Vuelta a España – Stage 13 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

By @EchelonsHub

(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Perhaps a day where more differences were expected, but another mountain day out of the day for Remco Evenepoel who withstood the attacks of Enric Mas to keep the red jersey, as he led the GC group into the finish at Peñas Blancas. The fight for the stage win was in front however, with Richard Carapaz making a strong comeback to take the win on the day, distancing Wilco Kelderman in the final kilometers, with Marc Soler rolling in third to the line.  

Positive: Carapaz taking a strong win, Kelderman and Polanc jumping into the Top10 with a successful breakaway.  

Negative: Nothing to note. 

The Route 

Stage 13 of the Vuelta will be an interesting one, with a stage that is very much typical of the Vuelta with a very open finale. On paper, a day for the sprinters, some at least, however the route is full of ‘rompe-piernas’ roads which constantly feature small ascents throughout the entire day. 

For that reason there are 1800 meters of climbing despite not featuring a single categorized climb, however it should be a fast day. The start in Ronda is at altitude and is by no means flat, and then throughout the rest of the day there will be rolling terrain. With 14.6 kilometers to go there will be a bonified intermediate sprint in Espejo that may see some action in case there is no breakaway up to this point. 

However, it will all be about the final climb. Uncategorized, of course, however it is one the fast men will feel and not all will survive. The final 6.6 kilometers have an uphill tilt to it, with false-flat gradients for much of the finale, it will put some riders in the hurt.  

The roads will flatten out until the final 700 meters, but it will kick up once again from there on with a 5% average until the finish. The finishing straight will also be short, and it is expected to be a very explosive finale where the puncheurs but also some GC riders should get in the mix at the end.  

The Weather

Some southwestern wind which will act as a bit of a tailwind throughout the day. In the final ascent though it may come a bit as a headwind. The heat however will tighten, with temperatures going above the 30 degrees meaning a rough day for everyone.  

Breakaway chances: 30%  

There will be several sprinter teams with interests, but the hot weather and tailwind throughout the day makes it an attractive day for a move. It won’t be as easy to control as it seems, specially with the rolling terrain.  

The Favourites 

Mads Pedersen – Leader of the points classification and taking into consideration the climbing form he’s shown in this race so far, he will without a doubt be one of the main favourites. The slight gradients will suit him very well, and Trek is all in for the Dane. It can be a match made in heaven.  

Kaden Groves – Having taken the last sprint and being sole team leader now, Groves will be on a good position. Normally he climbs quite well, but has had other not so good performances that cast doubt on his climbing skills. I expect a good ride however, and a winning candidate with no doubt. 

Danny van Poppel – Having been given the freedom from the team to sprint, van Poppel almost won on his first shot. This finale will suit him better I argue, and he’s showing enough form to take a win.  

The pure sprinters won’t have a favourable day, and likely only in Madrid will they now have the opportunity to take a win. Nevertheless the finale isn’t extremely hard and they may be in the fight: Tim Merlier and Dan McLay are those who I expected to see struggle the most, and Pascal Ackermann shouldn’t be too far away.  

As for those who sprint and do go over hilltops quite well, this is a day for them, with Bryan Coquard and Mike Teunissen as two very good options for a sprint. The likes of Fred Wright and Quentin Pacher as puncheurs may also have a big say, Daryl Impey can be a wildcard if he’s on a good day for the sprint, and in Juan Sebastian Molano and Carlos Canal there will be two other interesting mix of punchy sprinters.  

A breakaway could also succeed, if a strong enough group goes up the road. Rouleurs will be the main men to watch out for. Luis Léon Sánchez, Jesús Herrada, Bruno Armirail, Dylan van Baarle, Thomas de Gendt, Lawson Craddock and Xabier Mikel Azparren are in my opinion some of the most dangerous inside the current context and in such a route.  

Inside The Bus 

This morning I talk to… 

#216 Mikel Iturria – It’s a good day for us to go on the attack Mikel, and I expect some moves from you guys early in the day. To try and get some of the guys in the front of the race, keep a high pace throughout the day and work towards keeping the break afloat. At the end whoever has the best legs will eventually succeed.  

#37 Fred Wright – It isn’t a bad day for a breakaway, but I want you to stay in the peloton Fred. Luis and Jasha will have orders to attack early on, but as for you you save the legs towards the finale, it suits you well. The specific moment is the start of the final ramp, I want you to be well positioned and ready to attack within the final 700 meters, the sprinters won’t have much of a leadout and you can take advantage of that, let’s see how it works.  

#133 Dries Devenyns – A day to protect Remco Dries. Throughout the day he’ll need you guys, but don’t overcook yourself. Stay with him until the final kilometers, when it feels right then latch off the back and save the legs for the coming days.  

Prediction Time 

⭐⭐⭐M.Pedersen, Groves, van Poppel 

⭐⭐Wright, Teunissen, Coquard 

Merlier, Ackermann, Impey, Pacher, van Baarle, Armirail 

I think the peloton will be able to control the day and lead to a bunch sprint. I think this time Mads Pedersen will be able to take the win, as Trek and other teams will deposit their whole trust in the sprint.  

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Rúben Silva

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