Damiano Caruso took an epic win on Stage 9 of La Vuelta going solo from the breakaway, securing his second Grand Tour stage win this season.
Stage 9 of La Vuelta was another challenging day in the mountains covering 187 km with over 4,600 vertical metres. The race started with a fierce pace and was a difficult day for the riders to get into the breakaway. Eventually, the break managed to go which included Damiano Caruso and 10 other riders.
With 70km to go, the peloton started to bridge the gap to the break. Damiano kicked on and attacked going solo. On the foot of the final climb, Damiano had 5 minutes to the leader’s group and managed to climb his way to the top of Alto de Velefique before the GC contenders could catch him.
Bahrain Victorious had three riders finish in the top-ten of the stage with Jack Haig finishing 4th and Gino Mäder 7th. In the GC battle, Haig also moved up from 7th to 4th, 1:42 behind Race Leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)
Damiano Caruso: “ I’m so happy. I know it was a lot, but I knew Ineos was doing a really hard tempo. So I said okay, before they catch me I’ll try do a breakaway, maybe alone. I didn’t expect the gap to be bigger, but km by km it did…I still can’t believe what I’ve done.
It’s an amazing feeling and a repeat after my feeling in the Giro. For me it’s incredible. The last climb was so long, and I just wanted to keep focussed on my tempo and in the last 2km I realised I could win the day.”
Gorazd Štangelj, Lead Sports Director: “It’s great to see Damiano win today, but also hard to see Mikel suffering today. Let’s say actually, from this morning Mikel was not feeling the best. So we decided already that a few of the guys keep an eye on him. He is still a champion and one of our best riders and still support him with Wout and Mark.
What can you say about Damiano? We planned to have one rider in the break and it wasn’t easy to get into the break. Then the peloton didn’t give him much space and reacted really well to go alone and get time before the battle of GC riders. He did everything perfectly!
Jack has shown great form in the first block. He’s shown good condition from the beginning. We already got one objective today with the stage win of Damiano, and we are looking to more objectives with Jack, Gino and Mikel”
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