Vuelta a España stage 10: Sepp Kuss defends red jersey as Filippo Ganna proves untouchable

Kuss delivers time trial of his career to retain GC lead, Evenepoel gains time on all other classification rivals, moves to 1:09 back overall.

Photo: Getty Images

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Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) beat back Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Vism) for time trial glory on stage 10 of the Vuelta a España.

The Italian stallion went 16 seconds faster that TT archrival Evenepoel to score the stage win Tuesday on a day where most of the drama focussed on the GC battle.

Coloradan climber star Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) delivered the time trial of his career to finish 13th on the stage and defend his red jersey from second-overall Marc Soler (UAE Emirates).

“It was … hard,” Kuss laughed when speaking to Velo‘s Andy Hood at the finish line. “I felt really good, I was happy with what I could do on a course like this. I was suffering all the way.”

The gaps between the GC heavyweights behind Kuss condensed in the 28 minutes of racing Tuesday.

Evenepoel’s ride to second saw him gain time on top rivals Roglič, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), and Juan Ayuso (UAE Emirates). The Belgian is now third overall, just 1:09 behind Kuss, with Roglič next-best at 1:36 on GC.

“It’s good, hey,” Evenepoel told Sporza. “I have almost half a minute on Roglič, a minute on Vingegaard. That is already a nice lead, but there is still a lot to come. It will be exciting.”

João Almeida (UAE Emirates) pulled a blinder to finish fourth and vault up the classification from 10th to sixth overall.

Ganna beat back archrival Evenepoel for the stage.

The peloton breathed a collective sigh of relief at the sight of perfect blue skies and relatively calm conditions for Tuesday’s crucial ITT.

A slight tailwind down the long final straightaway was the one main weather factor to consider in a dynamic that put the advantage toward the most aero. Only one small climb in the 25.8km course made it one for the purest time trialists and many riders opted for monster 60T chainrings.

Stefan Bissegger (EF Education EasyPost) was the first top specialist down the ramp and duly set the mark to beat of 28:48.

Time trial dominator Ganna went out not long after and blitzed a flat, untechnical course perfectly suited to his huge horsepower. The Italian booted Bissegger far out of the hotseat with a 56kph ride that worked out a full 1:18 faster.

Evenepoel was touted the one rider that could match Ganna in this pure-specialist time trial. The reigning world TT champion was one of the last off the start ramp in Valladolid, along with Kuss all the remaining GC contenders.

Roglič started shortly ahead of Evenepoel and the two GC powerhouses delivered two near-identical rides.

Roglič was initially faster before Evenepoel swung the timings back in his favor. Evenepoel continued to accelerate past Roglič’s splits, but Ganna’s mark proved untouchable as the Italian champ sealed yet another TT win. Ganna ended up netting victory by 16 seconds over his time trial tormentor Evenepoel for his fourth ITT victory of the season.

“This time trial was perfect for me. I was lucky with the weather and the straights were good for me,” Ganna said of his first victory at the Vuelta. “After winning a time trial in the Giro, this is a dream come true for me. Today I can say that I managed to win a time trial in the Vuelta.”

Kuss sat on a 43 second GC lead over Soler when he rolled last down the ramp.

Soler went all-in on a mission to wear his home tour’s leader’s jersey, and although he shrunk his deficit to Kuss to 26 seconds, it wasn’t enough for a day in rojo. Kuss will wear red Wednesday for a summit finish at Laguna Negra.

Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) suffered more misfortune in a disaster Vuelta so far when he was forced to switch bikes in the first half of his ride, but was able to limit his losses for a top-20 finish.

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