Tadej Pogacar wins in a Chaotic Hailstorm with Lightening on top of Andorra

Nairo Quintana takes over the race lead after attacking his main rivals on the final climb

20-year-old Tadej Pogacar put in the ride of his life on stage 9 at the Vuelta a Espana today, to take the win for UAE Team Emirates in his first ever Grand Tour, during his first ever season on the World Tour. It was a crazy stage, made all the more choatic with rain, hail, lightening and 4km of gravel roads that turned into a skating rink.

Despite being the youngest rider in the race Pogacar was able to outwit and outclimb some of the most experienced and decorated professional cyclists in the world, including World Champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) who came 4th, race favourite Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) who finished 3rd and the current Green Jersey, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) who finished 2nd.

A big breakaway of 36 riders went away on the first climb; Antonio Pedrero, Marc Soler (Movistar Team), Pierre Latour, Geofffrey Bouchard (AG2R La Mondiale), Jakob Fuglsang, Gorka Izagirre (Astana), Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida), Felix Grosschaurtner (Bora-Hansgrohe), Lawson Craddock, Sergio Higuita (EF Education First), Kilian Frankiny, Romain Seigle (Groupama-FDJ), Thomas De Gendt, Carl Hagen (Lotto Soudal), Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott), Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data), Wout Poels, David de la Cruz, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Sebastian Henao (Team Ineos), Robert Gesink, Sepp Kuss, Neilson Powless (Jumbo-Visma), Matteo Fabbro, Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha Alpecin), Wilco Kelderman, Robert Power, Martijn Tusveld (Team Sunweb), Nikias Eg (Trek-Segafredo), Jesus Herrada, Darwin Atapuma (Cofidis) and Sergio Samitier (Euskadi-Murias).

The gap to the Movistar lead peloton went up to nearly 4 minutes as the break started the brutal climb of the HC Coll de Gallina. Astana shared the work looking after Lopez.

With 19 kms to Lopez attacked taking Quintana, with Roglic and Bennett chasing and Valverde joined them. Lopez attacked again and got 20 sec lead on the other favorites.

Up front Teo Geoghegan Hart and Ben O'Connor (Dimension Data) joined Bouchard on the last climb. A lot of rain, then hail started to fll then lightening.

alverde and Quintana caught López with Roglic distanced, up front Marc Soler attacked and soloed on. Soon after, Quintana launched an attack and was joined by UAE-Team Emirates' Tadej Pogacar.

Roglic then caught the group of López while Valverde launched a new attack which was brought back. Moments later, Movistar gave the order to Soler to stop riding and drop back to help Quintana and the Spaniard was furious as he was on course to win the stage.

Pogacar launched an attack that Quintana couldn't follow and the Colombian was left struggling on Soler's wheel. In the favourites' group, Roglic caught and left Valverde behind while López seemed to be suffering the consequences of the earlier efforts and a crash on the 4km gravel section, bleeding from his arm.

The Slovenian rider crossed the finish line 22 secionds ahead of Quintana.

Roglic was 48 seconds behind the winner of the stage with Valverde and Soler nine seconds behind.

Quintana's late attack was enough for the Colombian of Movistar to take the Red Jersey.

Roglic is six seconds behind him ahead of the rest day and the individual time trial on Tuesday.

On winning the stage, Pogacar commented: “It has been an incredible stage; it was very demanding from the start. Yesterday, when I saw the weather forecast for today, and I read that it would be rainy, I was actually happy because I knew I had it in me to do something special. I gave it everything on the gravel sector, and even after that effort I felt strong right up until the finish line. I know that I beat some of the best riders, but today’s stage wasn’t very straightforward. We had to contend with gravel and also a hailstorm, so it’s understandable that some riders would have had difficulties.”

Nairo Quintana said afterwards: "A very tough stage, where we always tried to ride on the attack to gain an edge on Roglic. I'm really thankful about what Marc Soler did there in the finish, as well as with all other team-mates. We always said we would be going day-by-day, seeing what Alejandro and I could do, supporting whoever is doing best, and the team has been protecting us both so far and we've been working together to take this jersey. There's still a long way to go in this Vuelta. Roglic still has an advantage, considering the TT on Tuesday. We would have to make a big, big effort in the time trial not to lose the jersey, which is what will probably happen, but once we're over it and together with the team, we will keep making efforts to take the jersey back and hopefully keep it until the end."

VIDEO: 2019 La Vuelta Stage 9 Highlights

2019 La Vuelta Stage 9 Top 10

1    Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates    2:58:09
2    Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team    0:00:23
3    Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma    0:00:48
4    Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team    0:00:48
5    Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team    0:00:57
6    Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida    0:00:59
7    Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education First    0:01:01
8    Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb    0:01:01
9    Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team    0:01:01
10    Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky    0:01:38

2019 La Vuelta GC after Stage 9

1    Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team    35:18:18
2    Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma    0:00:06
3    Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team    0:00:17
4    Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team    0:00:20
5    Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates    0:01:42
6    Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal    0:01:46
7    Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    0:02:21
8    Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe    0:03:22
9    Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb    0:03:53
10    Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida    0:04:46

 
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