2021 La Vuelta S7: Storer breaks out and wins first victory, Valverde retreats with tears.
On August 20th, the seventh stage of La Vuelta ended. During the race, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) crashed and retired. At the final summit, Michael Storer (DSM) won the stage, Carlos Verona (Movistar) was second, and Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) was third.
The seventh stage is the first mountain stage of La Vuelta, with a total length of 150km and a total climb of more than 3600m: two grade 3 slopes, two grade 2 slopes and two grade 1 slopes including the end point. Could it be that the stage is relatively big, and a grade 1 slope will be ushered in after 7km from the start. After that, the cyclists will continue to face the continuous uphill after passing a section of gently ups and downs, and usher in a decisive battle on the "Alicante's Balcony".
At the beginning of the game, several wild card teams took the lead in attacking and soon formed a small group of seven. But their lead is not big, and the first climbing point is more difficult. As the EF Education-Nippo and other teams in the main vehicle group began to accelerate and screen, they were quickly chased back. But something unexpected is that after a few rounds of pulling, Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) is left behind and he will lose a lot of time. After passing the first climbing point, a group of about 20 people formed in the front, but the gap between them and the main vehicle group is still not large.
After the reorganization, a group of about forty or fifty people was formed in front of the game. However, Jumbo-Visma has lost several lieutenants in order to guard against the repeated attacks of Lotto-Soudal, DSM and other teams. After several waves of offense and defense, about 120km from the end point, a breakout group including 6 cyclists was formed. The breakout cyclists were: Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R), Diego Camargo (EF Education-Nippo), Vanhoucke (Lotto- Soudal) and three cyclists Thymen Arensman, Chris Hamilton and Michael Storer from the DSM team. After about 10km, they established a lead of more than 1 minute, and GC cyclists such as Primož Roglič temporarily stood still in the main car group.
Soon thereafter, the UAE Team Emirates team launched an attack, tearing apart the main car group, and bringing out a group of about 20 people including cyclists such as Romain Bardet (DSM) and Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers). They are temporarily ahead of Primož Roglič’s third group by about 30 seconds. Entering the last 100km, the first group extended its advantage to more than 2 minutes, and the UAE Team Emirates team was still accelerating ahead of the second group. At this time, the gap between them and the main car group was still maintained at about 30 seconds.
Entering the last 90km, the two breakout groups merged to form a car group with a size of nearly 30 people, and the advantage was extended to about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Since Primož Roglič still has a big advantage in overall results, and Jumbo-Visma has lost several lieutenants, their pursuit is not very fierce. However, the teams in the front breakout group are all eyeing the victory of a single station, so they have always maintained efficient cooperation. After entering the last 80km, the gap between the two groups was continuously widened and reached more than 4 minutes.
Since then, DSM, Movistar and other teams have successively launched offensives at the climbing point. However, the most unexpected situation happened. In the subsequent downhill, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) unfortunately pressed against a bump on the road and rushed out of the track and suffered serious injuries. Although he still hoped to finish the game, he had to retire early due to his injury. This is likely to be the last La Vuelta of the veteran.
In the last 30km, Lawson Craddock (EF Education-Nippo) attacked and brought out Michael Storer (DSM) and Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers). They formed a new leading group and quickly opened up with the second group for 1 minute. The gap between left and right. In the last 15km, Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) and Michael Storer (DSM) launched attacks one after another and successfully pulled Lawson Craddock (EF Education-Nippo). Although Pavel Sivakov suffered a mechanical failure at one point, he soon caught up with Michael Storer. They are temporarily ahead of the second group by about 30 seconds.
In the last 10km, Carlos Verona (Movistar) and Andreas Kron (Lotto-Soudal) also entered the leading group, and the four cyclists in front had a chance to win a single stop. In the final climb, Carlos Verona (Movistar) was very active, but none of them worked. In the end, Michael Storer (DSM) attacked and successfully flew to the finish line to win a single stage.
After the end of the stage, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) continued to top the overall results list, leading the second place Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) by 8 seconds, maintaining the overall result red jersey. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) led the sprint green jersey, Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) won the climbing polka dot jersey from Rein Taaramäe (Wanty Gobert), and Egan Arley Bernal continued to wear the best young cyclist white jersey.