2022 Vuelta a España – Stage 16 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

By @EchelonsHub


The 15th stage completed the second week of racing, and the win fell to Thymen Arensman who got in the day’s breakaway and went solo in the final climb to take the biggest win of his career, and significantly climb up the GC. Enric Mas and Miguel Angel Lopez finished second and third, benefiting the most from the long ascent, having attacked with just under 10 kilometers to go to take time on the competition. Primoz Roglic also attacked Evenepoel, but the Belgian shed only seconds to both at the end to keep his red jersey.  

Positive: Arensman taking the stage win.  

Negative: Carlos Rodriguez lost some minutes in the fight for the podium and Top5. Kelderman crashed early in the day and cracked out of the Top10 at the end.  

The Route

Stage 16 is a tricky day at the Vuelta, with one of it’s flattest stages in it’s grand majority, and a stinging finale that will not be to the liking of many. It will be the first day of the final week which will kick off quite explosively.  

The start in Sanlucar de Barrameda is rather flat, one of the easiest starts of the race actually, and throughout the first 175 kilometers there will be little to note, with all the action set to be packed in the finale into Tomares, on the outskirts of Sevilla. Inside the final 15 kilometers there will be a sharp hilltop, but it’s expected to see the fireworks go off only later.  

It is a very hard finale to manage and one which should be very open. A little pitch of 600 meters at 8% will have it’s finale with only just over a kilometers to go, which will then lead to a short string of technical streets the riders will have to navigate into the final ramp.  

The uphill drag to the line in Tomares will not be gruesome, however the riders will enter it already near or in the red. The gradients will pitch up to 4% at the line, on what will be a difficult urban circuit.  

The Weather

A lot of heat as the temperature soars deep into the 30 degrees and some western breeze. It will make for a tailwind and crosswind throughout the first two thirds of the day, and in the final ascent it shouldn’t be too meaningful.  

Breakaway chances: 15% 

I think that with some wind and the heat the chances of a breakaway succeeding would be really good. However it didn’t seem as if there was much motivation to attack the race, I think this will mostly be a day to survive for most, it won’t be one where many will look to head into the heat themselves.  

The Favourites 

Mads Pedersen – Pedersen has consolidated his points jersey and finally took the win he’s been waiting for. The weight is off Trek’s shoulders, but will they keep their working attitude? If not it can be a day for the breakaway, but if they control it’s a certain sprint – or late attack for the win. He’s shown to be able to climb, and his sprint is also on point. In direct confrontation it will be complicated to beat him.  

Bryan Coquard – Coquard has looked very strong in the last sprint, but had some bad positioning getting into it. If he can improve, can he beat Pedersen? He may, on a good day, but it will not be an easy task for the Frenchman who has here likely his last chance to take a win.  

Pascal Ackermann – Ackermann is a wildcard, some days he just cannot climb, but in others he’s one of the best sprinters at these punchy efforts. In the last sprint he had a good one so I assume he’ll have a good day run here, however he will need to study the roadbook a little more before thinking about a win.  

The sprinters however reach far and wide. Whilst you have the likes of Danny van Poppel who can climb and sprint, Tim Merlier who sprints better but struggles on the climbs, Kaden Groves who climbs well but in the Vuelta has not been at his best, Mike Teunissen who may miss the sprint so as to work for Roglic, and Daryl Impey who would not be a surprise to neither take the win or be completely absent from the sprint.  

The puncheurs could also fight for this one, as the sprint features some gradients, but most importantly they may arrive fresher and actually have the capacity to sprint. Quentin Pacher and Fred Wright are two riders who have shown the legs to win and will likely be the most dangerous riders in this section. The likes of Jesus Ezquerra and Francisco Galvan will be leading the Pro Teams but with ambitions as they’ve shown good results in these punchy finishes, Alejandro Valverde is also a rider to take into consideration.  

It’s an open finale aswell, the explosive nature of it will mean that attacks are possible to succeed as it will not be easy terrain to put on an organized chase. From GC riders to other climbers and puncheurs, many have chances of succeeding in this scenario. I’d point out Rigoberto Uran as a very dangerous rider taking into consideration how his form is improving, but many others can do it too.  

Inside The Bus 

This morning I talk to… 

#202 Urko Berrade – Day in the peloton Urko, we’ll have some other breakaways later on in the week but this will be a rest day as much as possible for us.  

#191 Jetse Bol – Let’s make a move and attack. No point in staying in the peloton here, we’ll have some TV exposure and so let’s make it count.  

#142 Lawson Craddock – Let’s stay in the pack Lawson, some of the guys will help control the stage for Kaden. Ideally you won’t have to do much work, but in the finale we’ll need support to help keep the pace constant and reel in attacks if possible, that will be your job.  

Prediction Time 

⭐⭐⭐Pedersen, Coquard 

⭐⭐Ackermann, Pacher, Wright, Van Poppel 

⭐Groves, Teunissen, Impey, Ezquerra, Valverde, Galvan  

It will be no easy feat, but I will go for Bryan Coquard on this one. He’s beaten Pedersen this year, he has shown great legs in the last sprint, and he clearly has intentions after he decided to stay in the race into the final week.  

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Rúben Silva

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