Cofidis added another win to its account at the 78th La Vuelta Ciclista a España on Wednesday, as Jesus Herrada took a hat trick of Vuelta stage victories from a breakaway. Herrada’s teammate Geoffrey Soupe scored a win last Friday. The Spaniard also took over the KOM jersey from Eduardo Sepúlveda. Sepp Kuss retained his red leader’s jersey, under little pressure from his rivals.
After Tuesday’s time trial, it was back to the mountains. There was only one categorized climb on Wednesday’s 163-km stage, and summit finish La Laguna Negra was 6.5 km of 6.7 percent.
This could be a day for the break if the GC teams don’t take control. La Laguna Negra climb should also be familiar to the peloton, having already debuted in 2020.
📍 Lerma ➡️ La Laguna Negra
🚩 Start 13:15
🏁 Finish ca. 17:30
🛣️ 163.2km pic.twitter.com/9cujn4kbQU
— BORA – hansgrohe (@BORAhansgrohe) September 6, 2023
Eighth place Juan Ayuso crashed in the neutralized zone just after the race departed from Lerma.
Wednesday’s altimetry attracted a large breakaway of 26 chaps, with Geraint Thomas in it hoping to salvage something from a disappointing Vuelta. With 60 km to go, this platoon’s advantage was 4:30. Jumbo-Visma controlled the pace of the peloton.
The hostilities started before the road tilted up, with Paul Ourselin trying his luck. Tuesday’s victor Filippo Ganna pulled the chase group. The attacks and counterattacks created a leading nontet of riders including Herrada and Thomas. From his group of nine Jonathan Caicedo made a move that Thomas latched onto. Herrada came across as well and then timed his surge to perfection to get the win.
Of the GC men, Cian Uijtdebroeks, Hugh Carthy and Remco Evenepoel all made moves in the final couple of kilometres, but couldn’t stick them; they all finished in a group of 21 5:50 behind Herrada.
Although Thursday’s stage isn’t exactly flat, there are no categorized climbs along its 150.5 km.
78th La Vuelta Ciclista a España Stage 11
1) Jesus Herrada (Spain/Cofidis) 3:29:17
2) Romain Grégoire (Groupama-FDJ) +0:16
3) Andreas Kron (Denmark/Lotto-Dstny) +0:36
78th La Vuelta Ciclista a España GC
1) Sepp Kuss (USA/Jumbo-Visma) 39:27:45
2) Marc Soler (Spain/UAE-Emirates) +0:26
3) Remco Evenepoel (Belgium/Soudal-QuickStep) +1:09
4) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) +1:36
5) Lenny Martinez (France/Groupama-FDJ) +2:02