Schultz & Stannard into the moves before Nieve climbs to 19th on mountainous stage 9 of La Vuelta

Stage nine of La Vuelta a España saw Basque climber Mikel Nieve the highest finisher for Team BikeExchange in 19th place after an action-packed day, which saw the breakaway take more than 80km to establish.

The 188km mountain stage featured a total of 4,593 metres of climbing and with al“`l teams wanting to be represented in the break, it was a furious and fast start. Australian’s Rob Stannard and Nick Schultz animated the early proceedings, jumping into various moves, with Stannard’s group finally snapping the elastic.

The relentless climbing then followed and as expected, most of the breakaway riders were swallowed up, including Stannard, before the GC battle to shape ahead.

Damiano Caruso was the only to survive ahead and went on to win the stage, while behind, Nieve fought on up the final climb to the finish line to conclude the stage in a respectable 19th place ahead of a well-deserved rest day.

Nick Schultz

“It was a really hard start, you know these kinds of days, we had 50km flat before the climbing kicked off and at one point, I found myself in a group of three. I didn’t really want to be there as it was a long stage, almost 200km so I was kind of hoping a group would come across and the peloton would prob but that didn’t happen and then it all came back together, and it kept kicking off until 80km into the race.

So, Rob Stannard and I were trying to get into the moves and Rob did a really good job of trying to infiltrate the main breakaway of the day, but it never really eased off and that made for a really hard day out. Once Rob’s group was back, Nieve did all he could and now it’s time for the first ready before we head into an important second week.”

Julian Dean – Sport Director 

“It was a solid day that went on for a long time before the break went, we had guys in the moves during the start, both Rob and Schultz were away for a bit and then we had Nieve there in the end, doing a pretty solid ride finishing up there close to the favourites so it was a good way to b heading into the rest day tomorrow and good riding from the guys.”

Julian Dean – Sport Director 

“It was a solid day that went on for a long time before the break went, we had guys in the moves during the start, both Rob and Schultz were away for a bit and then we had Nieve there in the end, doing a pretty solid ride finishing up there close to the favourites so it was a good way to b heading into the rest day tomorrow and good riding from the guys.”

2021 La Vuelta – Stage 9 results:
1. Damiano Caruso
2. Primoz Roglic
3. Enric Mas
18. Mikel Nieve