Vuelta a España Vuelta a España 2022, stage 20: Moralzarzal - Puerto de Navacerrada, 181.0k

The last roll of the dice. We've danced this dance before, can Evenepoel do what Dumoulin couldn't in 2015 and survive Morcuera and Cotos to end his country's GT drought?




Annoyingly the stage starts with a detour to the bottom of Navacerrada, they could have started climbing pretty much right out of the gate but Unipublic doesn't seem to believe in that kind of thing. The climb itself is of course a known quantity and a staple of the race - and rightly so, as it's as about hard as a Madrid area pass gets. The final ~8.5k match up with the profile below but the road starts to rise before that.


The descent is followed by the only long flatter section of the day, then it's time for Puerto de Navafría.


The next climb, Puerto de Canencia, is the easiest of the day, but still has some good ramps.


The descent takes us into Miraflores and here we join the 2015 and 2019 stage routes as we immediately hit Puerto de la Morcuera. It's the final 9 kilometres of the profile below.


The descent gives way to a brief flat, then the final climb of the race, Puerto de Cotos, starts. After it, we deviate from the 2015/2019 script, continuing on to Navacerrada but finishing there rather than descending the side that was climbed at the start of the day. I like this combination of a climb giving way to a short flat towards the line on the final mountain stage, we haven't seen something like it since the 2017 Giro. That day, an otherwise-mediocre stage culminated in the Dumoulin group frantically chasing down the other contenders. We're unlikely to see something like that for the race win this time, but it does open up the opportunity for tactical games in the battle for the lower spots on GC, starting with the race for third.
 
A lot of climbs, nothing very steep it seems. But the fatique after such a day will play a huge role.

The section at the end... 7km flat.. if you ride away, but the others stay together it will be hard to keep the gap. (especially if remco is riding after you on this section).


Last chance for Movistar... they have an incredible strong team. (at least compared to the competition).
QS... I think remco might have one teammate left 35km into the stage. Remco will be isolated very fast if the others keep the pace high. But can they do something relevant with this?

Will remco ride for the win if he has the shot? or just pace himself to play completely safe?


For Lopez it is the same thing, can he get away and put time into Ayuso?
if yes, will Almeida ride for Ayuso? :eek:
or will Almeida ride for himself? he can make it to the top5 with Rodriguez battered and hurt. (or that might just happen if he follows the others in any case)

I think we will see a lot of action ending up with a nothing burger :D
 
In this stage i would have Van Wilder (also) go in the break and tag along, perhaps with Vervaeke or Masnada. He is a much more interesting rider to have as a helper in the later parts the stage. If they send Masnada or an injured Vervaeke up the road, chances are they will be dead by the time Evenepoel needs them. Not so with Van Wilder. On the other hand, Cavagna, Devenyns, Masnada and Vervaeke should be enough to keep Remco safe until Canencia. In case he is in trouble after that, Van Wilder could still drop back for the final of the stage. In case Remco is never in trouble, Van Wilder could stay in the break and, depending on which climbers are in the break, could even win it. He's not slow in a sprint, and he can do a TT.
 
Last edited:
The final climb isn't hard enough to take two minutes, so Mas has to attack earlier if he still wants to win the Vuelta. He can't do a major solo, so he has to try something with a teammate or a coalition with another team.

Evenepoel looked in control the past four days. The only danger will be to get isolated far from the finish. If he has to lead a pursuit on his own, like in the Tour of the Basque Country, it might still go wrong. Otherwise he'll probably defend his red jersey comfortably. I don't really expect a major attack from far out or a coalition.

NOBODY EXPECTS A SPANISH COALITION!
 
The final climb isn't hard enough to take two minutes, so Mas has to attack earlier if he still wants to win the Vuelta. He can't do a major solo, so he has to try something with a teammate or a coalition with another team.

Evenepoel looked in control the past four days. The only danger will be to get isolated far from the finish. If he has to lead a pursuit on his own, like in the Tour of the Basque Country, it might still go wrong. Otherwise he'll probably defend his red jersey comfortably. I don't really expect a major attack from far out or a coalition.

NOBODY EXPECTS A SPANISH COALITION!
Mas attacking on Morcuera and being helped by a breakaway teammate is the most realistic scenario to gain substantial time. Whether he succeeds is another story: he'll probably need a weaker day by Evenepoel to have a chance. I'm predicting Remco's success in the GC anyway, he's looked very solid recently.
 
The moment of truth...kinda...

Go Joao, because he's the only one whom I believe in. Remco takes Mas' wheel all day long and he'll be fine. If he plays it "New Anquetil", Mas is no Poulidor and the last climb is not the Puy de Dome. That flat crap to the finish is playing in Remco's hand too.

Nibali may be waiting for Sunday to place his deadly attack and take two hours on everybody, seal the deal, and close the bag. Whether he attacks tomorrow or bites on Sunday, who knows? But for sure, some are desperate to save their Vuelta: there has to be a break but how much time/lead will it get?

Only Vincenzo Nibali can beat Remco Evenepoel.
 
The moment of truth...kinda...

Go Joao, because he's the only one whom I believe in. Remco takes Mas' wheel all day long and he'll be fine. If he plays it "New Anquetil", Mas is no Poulidor and the last climb is not the Puy de Dome. That flat crap to the finish is playing in Remco's hand too.

Nibali may be waiting for Sunday to place his deadly attack and take two hours on everybody, seal the deal, and close the bag. Whether he attacks tomorrow or bites on Sunday, who knows? But for sure, some are desperate to save their Vuelta: there has to be a break but how much time/lead will it get?

Only Vincenzo Nibali can beat Remco Evenepoel.
The most amusing thing about your post is, "and close the bag".

They really should have put three hours into him while they had the chance.
 
Roglic I imagine. But after Sierra Nevada, that debate should be over.

Then there's of course the argument he faced all the Giro-riders off form and his biggest competition was the ever defensive Enric Mas who solely rode for UCI points, and doesn't have the cojones and desire to actually win the race etc etc. Basically just non-sense.
I'd understand that concept if Roglič had been ahead of Evenepoel when he crashed out, but he wasn't and besides, to finish first, first you have to finish. If Roglič had been taken out by a spectator or had been kamikazed by a QS rider that might have made some sense, but Roglič is out of the race due to a crash which he himself was responsible for. I mean, even if Evenepoel crashes out of the race today and Mas inherits the win it shouldn't be asterisked, at least unless Mas himself caused the crash taking out his rival perhaps.

Most GTs will see GC contenders fall by the wayside from crashes or illnesses. It's a shame for it to happen so deep into the race, but it still happens. Hell, Sean Kelly had to withdraw from the Vuelta while leading it only a couple of days from the finish in 1987, and there isn't an asterisk on Herrera's inherited triumph or even Bernal's 2019 Tour win when it is highly likely people would have raced differently had they known that time would be taken at l'Iseran. There aren't many race wins in 2022 that actually "deserve" an asterisk. Serrano's win in Britain due to the race being called off and him inheriting just because of having the lead at that time is a contender, maybe Schmid's win in Belgium because it was due to illegal actions of his teammate that he held the jersey, but even those are contentious.
 
I think we are seeing a Mas in a form/or mental state that is the best of his life.
In 2018 when Yates won he also did a great 20stage securing a 2nd place and putting a lot of pressure on Yates. He has it in him to do something like that, but the competition he has now is a lot stronger than in 2018, even though he is stronger as well.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY