A dramatic last few hundred meters on stage 19 of the Vuelta a España saw UAE Team Emirates’ Portuguese rider Rui Costa cross the finishing line in fourth place in a restricted sprint.
Rui Costa and his teammate Mohoric, himself already a stage winner at this year’s race, produced an attacking display of undeniable class as they formed part of the long breakaway for the day consisting of 26 riders.
The stage victory eventually went to Thomas De Gendt (Belgium) of Lotto Soudal, whilst Chris Froome (Team Sky) retained the Red Jersey. UAE Team Emirates’ South African General Classification (GC) specialist, Louis Meintjes, maintained his 14th position in the overall standings.
Commenting on his top five finish, former World Champion Rui Costa said: “Today I was aware that it was important to be in the breakaway and I was waiting for that bit of luck that I have missed on previous stages.
“I succeeded in being amongst the attackers, however I am sad that I didn’t win, especially since my legs felt great and the victory seemed achievable. I was really focused in the last part of the stage and very strong on the final climb – I gave my best until the end, but ultimately I missed the victory which is obviously disappointing.”
A short 117.5km course sees riders tackle two category one climbs, and one HC category climb, during Stage 20 on Saturday. Climbers will be keen to see the mountains and form a breakaway, whilst sprinters will be wary of the brutal 22% incline on some of Friday’s climbs.
This stage has a reputation for producing the overall Vuelta winner, so attacking rides from GC contenders should be expected.
Stage 19 results
1. Thomas De Gendt (Belgium) Lotto Soudal– 3:35:46
2. Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia) Trek – Segafredo – “”
3. Iván García Cortina (Spain) Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team – “”
4. Rui Costa (Portugal) UAE Team Emirates – “”
1. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky – 75:51:51
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team – 01:37
3. Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands) Team Sunweb – 02:17
14. Louis Meintjes (SA) UAE Team Emirates – 13:32
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