Vuelta a España: Mads Pedersen wins stage 16 as Primož Roglič attacks and crashes
Remco Evenepoel suffers late mechanical but holds overall lead.
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Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) stormed to the win on stage 16 of the Vuelta a España after a pulsating finale of racing that saw Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) attack and then crash before the line.
Pedersen was the strongest from a group of four that had jumped clear in the same move with Roglič.
Roglič attacked with 2.8km to on the stage, on a last uphill section before the road flattened out. Only a handful of riders could keep pace with the Slovenian with race leader Remco Evenepoel forced to sit up due to a mechanical.
Even with the ‘3km rule’ it looked as though Evenepoel would lose a handful of seconds to Roglič in the battle for the GC but the day turned into a disaster for Roglič in the sprint when he appeared to catch his handlebars on those of Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious).
Roglič was thrown to the ground with the line in sight as Pedersen kicked clear to take his second stage of the race. Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) finished second with Danny van Poppel (Bora-Hansgrohe) taking third.
A bloody Roglič was left to pick himself up off the tarmac, while Evenepoel was given the same time as the main group. Heading into stage 17 the Belgian holds a 1:26 lead over Roglič after losing eight seconds in the chaotic last few kilometers.
“I wasn’t in the best position,” Evenepoel said at the finish. “We explored the finish yesterday and I knew it was a bit slippery. I was a bit anxious in the last five kilometers. I wanted to move up the steep part, but then I felt I had a puncture in the rear.”
Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH) and Luis Angel Maté (Euskaltel-Euskadi) had been on the attack for most of the stage, building up a lead of almost four minutes at one point. However, with just under 15km to go the pair were reeled in after consistent work from Trek-Segafredo and Cofidis.
It looked as though a reduced bunch sprint would decide the stage but with 2.8km to go Roglič powered to the front and immediately started setting a furious pace. Only Ackermann could initially follow before another three riders, including Pedersen, made contact. Roglič kept the leaders clear of the bunch but drifted to the back of the group as the sprint opened up. He was assessed by medical staff after the stage.
Results will be available once stage has completed.