On the summit finish of Peñas Blancas, the breakaway once again made it this Thursday on stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana. Unfortunately, Groupama-FDJ did not manage to put one or several men up front. On the line, Richard Carapaz took the win while Thibaut Pinot stayed with the favorites until the last five kilometres. On Friday, the sprinters-punchers will have a better chance in Montilla.
The peloton remained in Andalusia on Thursday for a particular stage, as it featured only one climb, the final one. At the top of Peñas Blancas (19km at 6.5%), a climber was expected to emerge victorious. However, the fight was tough from the start in order to enter the day’s breakaway, whose chances of success were very high. Shortly after 12:30 p.m., the attacks came from all over the place, but the “good” move only went after about forty kilometres. A large group created a gap, and Groupama-FDJ was left behind in the bunch. “We are obviously disappointed”, decided Philippe Mauduit. “We don’t like to let thirty-three riders go on a stage like this, which still suited us, without placing one guy from our team. Those things can happen. If the course had been harder, we could have chased a little and then made another move in a climb, but the terrain was very, very flat. In these circumstances, it was hard to do anything against such a group. We pulled at the very beginning when there were ten seconds, but when you see that it goes up to twelve, fifteen, twenty, thirty, you realize that it’s not going to work. In that case, it would be foolish to keep going. We don’t make excuses. Some have tried, were caught, and then managed to take the right group anyway. It’s part of the sport.”
“ Let’s not be discouraged”, Bruno Armirail
Along the Mediterranean coast, Bruno Armirail and his teammates were therefore forced to forget any hopes for today’s stage. “We are disappointed”, also said the French time trial champion. “We tried a lot at the start of the stage, but it wasn’t easy with the headwind. Then a large group came out, and we had nobody in there. That’s how it is, unfortunately. The other day, there were three of us in a group of ten. Today, we didn’t have one in a group of thirty, but that’s cycling. It could have been a good stage for Thibaut, Seb or Rudy, but we have to look ahead, there are other stages. It’s not over, let’s not be discouraged.” On Thursday, the peloton did not try to prevent the breakaway from making it, and the leading group then enjoyed a twelve-minute lead before starting the final climb. Richard Carapaz won at the top while Thibaut Pinot fought in the red jersey group until the last five kilometres, when there were barely twenty riders remaining. The Frenchman crossed the line in 38th position. The riders will head to Montilla on Thursday, on rough terrain but without significant ascents. “It can be a sprint or a breakaway like today,” slipped Philippe.