Herrada Climbs to Victory in Stage 11 of Vuelta a Espana
Following yesterday’s stage 10 individual time trial, Wednesday’s stage 11 of La Vuelta a España 2023 invited the professional cycling peloton to a challenge in mountain territory.
The 163.2-kilometer stage 11 started in Lerma and the riders would travel east on a false flat to the legendary La Laguna Negra /Vinuesa climb. The climb to La Laguna Negra is a category 1 climb of 6.5 kilometers with an average incline percentage of 6.7 percent and sections of up to 8.4 percent near the top.
A 26-man group formed the breakaway of the day and built a lead of more than five minutes to the chasing main peloton. The group featured noteworthy climbers such as Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Andreas Kron (Lotto-Dstny), Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), Dorian Godon (AG2R-Citroen), Jonathan Klever Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost), Andrea Piccolo (EF Education-EasyPost), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) – and not least Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers) who had been allowed to attack, because he was more than thirteen minutes behind the race leader in the general classification before today’s stage. Thomas had valuable support from yesterday’s stage winner and teammate Filippo Ganna who worked hard on the flat sections of the stage.
The Jumbo-Visma team was controlling the pace of the main peloton while preparing for the climb of the day that would be reached in the final part of the stage. The team was protecting the interests of their race leader Sepp Kuss and team captains Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard. Other general classification favorites such as Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates), Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ), Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), Enric Mas (Movistar Team), Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious), and defending Vuelta champion Remco Evenepoel were also present near the front of the main peloton.
The breakaway group had increased its advantage to approximately six minutes with 25 kilometers left of the stage.
Julius Johansen (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty) was the first man to attack from the front of the breakaway with about sixteen kilometers remaining. He wanted an advantage on the other breakaway participants before the climb started. Alas, he was caught by the chasers a few kilometers later.
With the main peloton also approaching the climb of the day, the various general classification-focused teams sent their riders to the front of the peloton to help control both the pace and the Jumbo-Visma team.
Paul Ourselin (TotalEnergies) tried his luck from the front group with nine kilometers left. Caicedo, Sean Flynn (Team DSM) and a Burgos-BH rider tried to bridge the gap to Ourselin.
Kron attacked. As Kron was the fastest man in the stage 2 climbing finish, other climbers in the front group immediately responded – including Welshman Geraint Thomas. Ganna came to Thomas’ aid by moving to the front of the reduced front group that was chasing Ourselin.
Ourselin was caught five kilometers from the finish line. He proved unable to keep up with the catchers.
Ganna was still leading the front group with three kilometers left. Despite the incline percentages, the heavy time trial expert was having great legs on the climb.
At this point Thomas, Ganna, Molard, Romain Gregoire (Groupama-FDJ), Kron, Caicedo, Nicolas Prodhomme (AG2R-Citroen), Herrada, and Jose Manuel Diaz (Burgos-BH) remained part of the front group.
Meanwhile, Soudal-QuickStep had taken the lead in the main peloton to help Evenepoel.
Caicedo attacked and Thomas countered. The group remerged. Molard attacked, but Kron closed the gap.
Caicedo attacked again and broke free. Molard and Kron launched attacks but were caught. Caicedo was still solo in front.
Herrada attacked with 300 meters left and passed Caicedo. Kron attacked.
Herrada crossed the finish line in solo fashion as winner of stage 11 of La Vuelta a España 2023. Romain Gregoire (Groupama-FDJ) finished second, while Kron completed the stage podium. Caicedo finished fourth, while Thomas took fifth and gained time that allowed him to advance three spots in the general classification. Thomas is now eighteenth.
Wilco Kelderman and Hugh Carthy attached from the front of the main peloton with five hundred meters left.
Behind them there was a truce between the general classification favorites until two-hundred meters from the finish where Evenepoel accelerated in powerful fashion. However, there was not to be any significant changes to the top of the general classification following today’s stage.
Kuss remains general classification leader ahead of Soler and Evenepoel. Roglic is fourth and Martinez is fifth.
Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for news from La Vuelta a Espana 2023.
Support Roadcycling.com by visiting Wiggle (EU/UK) and Competitive Cyclist (USA) to buy bikes, cycling equipment and apparel. Take advantage of the great sale offers now and get the bike gear you need to make this your best season ever.