Kamna Wins Stage 9 of La Vuelta a Espana
The start of today’s stage 9 of Vuelta a España 2023 was dominated by side winds that caused a split in the peloton. Jumbo-Visma was in front together with Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep), but other race favorites were caught behind and spent much energy on chasing the front group.
The attack, however, was neutralized as the side winds subsided and the riders reached a climb. Instead, an attack featuring eight riders that posed no threat to the general classification favorites was allowed to break away from the main peloton.
The breakaway group featured Jonathan Klever Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost), Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Lidl-Trek), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), Matteo Sobrero (Jayco-Alula), Ruben Fernandez (Cofidis), Chris Hamilton (Team DSM-Firmenich), Daniel Navarro (Burgos-BH), and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA’s Jon Barrenetxea. The group built a lead of more than eight minutes.
Weather forecasts were predicting heavy rainfall in the final part of the stage, so the riders were on high alert.
With 80 kilometers left of the stage, the strong side winds had split the main peloton into multiple chelons. The front echelon featured general classification favorites such as Primoz Roglic, Jonas Vingegaard, Remco Evenepoel, Sepp Kuss, Mikel Landa, Eric Mas, Marc Soler, Joao Almeida, and Juan Ayuso.
56 kilometers from the finish line the breakaway group had a 03:39 minute lead over the reduced main peloton featuring the general classification favorites. The rest of the peloton was 04:35 behind the front men who were passing by the dry and dusty slopes clad with pine trees and almond trees.
On the helicopter shots, the terrain looked like leopard skin, but it was human powered engines that were competing in today’s action-packed event.
The riders were now competing on the false flat that preceded the Alto Caravaca de la Cruz climb (category 2; 8.2 km; 5.4% average incline; 10.5% maximum gradient) where the stage winner would be found.
With 25 kilometers left, the eight men in the front group had expanded their lead to more than five minutes, while the front peloton group had merged with the chasing part of the peloton. All general classification favorites were now together.
Given the increased advantage of the front group, the breakaway riders were starting to hope they would get the chance to fight for a stage victory in today’s stage 9.
Fourteen kilometers from the finish Navarro suffered his second mechanical and was, therefore, dropped from the breakaway group.
Kämna launched an attack when the final climb started with 8 kilometers left to contest. He failed at forming a gap and instead Hamilton counterattacked. He too, was unable to break free. Six riders remained at the front with seven kilometers left. The breakaway hopefuls now had a lead of more than four minutes over the main peloton.
Sombrero briefly tried his luck. Caicedo was dropped together with Barrenetxea.
Kämna attacked again 5.5 kilometers from the top of the climb. Sobrero tried to close the gap.
The predicted heavy rain had not materialized while the riders contested the roads – only scattered showers had appeared. But some mud had slid onto the roads before the riders reached these points of the route. Therefore, the finish time would be taken two kilometers before the actual finish line.
Kämna powered on toward the finish line in solo fashion. Sobrero fought hard to bridge the gap while there was still time.
Meanwhile, in the main peloton Joao Almeida attacked for UAE Team Emirates. Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) joined forces with Almeida. The duo formed a small gap. Roglic and Enric Mas countered with Remco Evenepoel. Jonas Vingegaard was in trouble.
The general classification favorites stopped competing after the time was taken two kilometers from the finish line.
Kämna won the stage in solo fashion. Sobrero was next across the finish line.
Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for coverage from La Vuelta a Espana 2023.
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