Florian Senechal outsprinted a reduced field to win stage 13 of the Vuelta a Espana on Friday after his Deceuninck Quick Step teammate Fabio Jakobsen failed to keep pace in the run in due to a flat tire. Senechal was part of Jakobsen’s lead out team and won the stage ahead of Italian pair Matteo Trentin and Alberto Dainese with Norway’s Odd Christian Eiking retaining the overall lead. Ineos leader Egan Bernal also sprung a small surprise to gain a few seconds on his overall rivals when he managed to keep up with the front clique as the rest of the peloton got dropped in a late split.
On a sizzling day with temperatures tipping towards 98F a headwind and a fast closing space caused several splits in the peloton. So much so that the Belgian outfit leading the peloton actually dropped their own sprinter Jakobsen as 15 riders broke away in the final mile at a roundabout.
“We did a perfect lead-out for Fabio and he said on the radio he had a flat tire or something and said ‘Florian you can sprint’,” Senechal said.
“It’s crazy. I am lucky today and I am very happy for my family, friends and my wife.”
Trentin said he had given too much on the corner where the split happened.
“From there on, I wasn’t super confident in the corners. I always left too much space, and I think that cost me a little bit in the sprint,” said the UAE rider.
A GRAND TOUR FIRST
The victory was Senechal’s first stage win on a Grand Tour and continues the Belgian outfit’s habit of finding wins after Mark Cavendish took four in the Tour de France wearing their blue shirt. Green jersey sprint points leader Jakobsen was aiming for his third stage win here and took maximum points at the day’s intermediate sprint just 3 miles outside town.
🚅El tren que marcó el final de etapa
🔵This train changed everything today!#LaVuelta21
— La Vuelta (@lavuelta) August 27, 2021
In the overall standings, Intermarche rider Christian Eiking leads Frenchman Guillaume Martin by 58 seconds and defending champion Primoz Roglic by 1:56. Movistar pair Enric Mas and Miguel Angel Lopez round out the top five. Jack Haig and Ineos’s Bernal and Adam Yates are also within five minutes and still in the frame.
The weekend’s action should see a shake up in the overall standings as it provides two huge mountain challenges with two category 1 climbs on both Saturday and Sunday.
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini