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Vuelta a Espana

Vuelta a España stage 19: Cavagna wins in Toledo

Frenchman Rémi Cavagna won Friday's stage 19 with a powerful solo move into Toledo.

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Rémi Cavagna finally got his Vuelta a España stage win.

After attacking into multiple breakaways throughout this year’s race, Cavagna reaped the benefits of his aggression on Friday’s stage into Toledo. The 24-year-old Frenchman attacked out of the day’s move with 25 kilometers to go, and then held off the thundering peloton by seconds to take his first grand tour victory.

“I try and I give everything and I pushed full-gas until the end,” Cavagna said. “I’m really happy today because it’s my first victory in a grand tour so I’m really happy.”

The victory marked the fourth win for Deceuninck-Quick Step at this year’s Vuelta a España. Philippe Gilbert took two stage wins, and sprinter Fabio Jakobsen added a third.

Cavagna’s stage victory is icing on the cake for the Belgian squad, which has now registered 61 pro wins this season. Two of those wins belong to Cavagna, who normally pulls domestique duty on flat and hilly races. In May he won a stage of the Amgen Tour of California after a daylong breakaway into Morgan Hill, California.

“It’s our fourth victory so we are in really good position this year,” Cavagna said. “It’s really nice for me and the team and the staff who work hard for the team.”

Behind Cavagna there was no change to the GC overall, despite some fireworks during the hilly 165.2-kilometer stage between Avila and Toledo. With 65 kilometers remaining, overall leader Primoz Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma squad crashed on a wet section of tarmac; the pileup knocked the team’s star domestique Tony Martin out of the race entirely.

After the crash, Spanish team Movistar rode to the front of the peloton and upped the pace, forcing Roglic to chase. Also forced down in the pileup was Miguel Angel Lopez, and his Astana squad eventually helped Roglic chase back on.

At the finish, Roglic declined to comment on Movistar’s decision to push the pace.

“I was a little unlucky, I was there when they crashed, I hit the wall, some guys are a lot of worse,” Roglic said. “I am still here, and that is good. I don’t now much about what happened. We need to see later on the replay, then I can comment.”

The hilly stage opened with attacks, and after just a few kilometers an 11-man breakaway rode off the front. Present in the group were Lawson Craddock (EF Education First), Cavagna, Shane Archbold (Bora-Hansgrohe), Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale), Domen Novak (Bahrain-Merida), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton Scott), Ben O’Connor (Team Dimension Data), David de la Cruz (Team Ineos), Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb), and Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo).

The gap hovered around two minutes for much of the day, dropping inside 1:30 with 30 kilometers to go. The day looked primed for a bunch sprint into Toledo until Cavagna decided to go.

As the gap hovered at 1:21 the Frenchman accelerated out of the group on a flat section of wide road and powered off into the distance. The chase group organized to try and bring him back, but Cavagna steadily increased his advantage.

The chase group fractured on the outskirts of Toledo, with Craddock, Arndt, and Dillier striking out ahead in an effort to chase down Cavagna. But as Cavagna sped into the final two kilometers, his gap was still at 30 seconds.

The Frenchman lurched over his bicycle as he powered up the final cobblestone climb to the finish, while behind, the peloton overtook the remnants of the break.

“I really suffered on this course. The last kilometers were terrible,” Cavagna said. “I knew that others were faster than me, so I wanted to try to attack from faraway. I didn’t believe I would make it.”

The chase brought Cavagna back into sight on the final push to the line, but the effort was too late. Cavagna crossed the line solo with just enough time to shake his head in disbelief, and pump his fist in victory.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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