Schultz makes the breakaway on stage 18 of La Vuelta as Nieve moves up to 11th overall

Thu 12 Sep 2019

Australian rider Nick Schultz made it into the day's breakaway on another hard mountainous stage at La Vuelta a España today with Mikel Nieve the highest finisher on the stage for Mitchetlon-SCOTT in 18th place.

Schultz made it into the day’s move with 12 other riders before the overall contenders lit up the race coming onto the pentulimate climb. Sergio Higuita (EF Education First) went on to eventually claim a solo victory with Nieve moving up one position to 11th place overall, with just three-stages remaining.

A Breakaway Battle

It was a fierce start to the 18th stage with a fight to get into the day’s breakaway. The peloton headed up and over the first, first category climb and still no breakaway had established itself.

After 60kilometres, before the second climb of the day, Schultz was able to make it into a group of seven-riders that escaped just over the top of the climb and the group was able to ride away from the bunch. Shortly after six more riders made the junction and the breakaway settled into a rhythm ahead.

Attacks On The Penultimate Climb

The leader’s held an advantage of around four-minutes as they began the penultimate climb where the race then began to light up. Team Astana set the tempo behind in the main peloton, which split the group instantly and the GC battle began to unfold once again.

Ahead, Schultz tried to pace himself as the breakaway group also began to split up and eventually was swallowed up by the selection of GC riders that came from behind. Higuita went away solo and held on to take the stage win with Nieve battling on to finish in 18th place and move up one place overall.

Nick Schultz 

“It took ages for the break to go, it wasn’t until the top of the first climb, basically it kept kicking on all the way up there. I kind of grovelled over and I was still in the group there, it was pretty small already and I just went into the move that the peloton decided to let go.

“I tried to save as much energy as possible, although it was hard to do. I tried to fuel as much as I could and then just pace myself once they started kicking off on that second to last climb.”

Julian Dean - Sports Director

“Nick has been fighting this whole race to get into the right move, the right breakaways and he managed to bridge across to that one after the first climb today and be at the front, so it was a really good performance from Nick.

“It’s always going to be tough for him, when he ends up in a strong group like that but it was a good effort. He was there to come back at the end and support Mike Nieve a little bit in the final too.”

La Vuelta – Stage 18 Results:
1. Sergio Higuita (EF Education First) 4:33:09
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:15
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) +0:15
18. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +4:50

La Vuelta – General Classification after Stage 18:
1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 71:16:54
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) +2:50
3. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) +3:31
11. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 22:16

Photos courtesy of Getty Images