James Knox continues to make inroads in the general classification.
The third ever La Vuelta stage ridden entirely in France brought also the longest individual time trial at World Tour level this season, a 36.2km effort between Jurançon and Pau. The charming French town – located on the northern edge of the Pyrenees – hosted an ITT for the second time this year, following the one won by Julian Alaphilippe in July, at the Tour de France, when he emphatically defended his yellow jersey.
Six weeks later, another Deceuninck – Quick-Step Frenchman was in the spotlight, Rémi Cavagna – who averaged close to 45.7km/h over the demanding hilly course, that included two technical descents and a series of tight corners – and went fastest through both checkpoints before going directly into the hot seat at the finish, where he stopped the clock in 47:32.
Only two riders improved the time of Cavagna, who ended the stage in third place for his first ever podium finish on a Grand Tour stage, a well-deserved result for the 24-year-old from Clermont-Ferrand, who analysed his ride at the finish: “After a rest day, it’s always hard, but I felt good and I could see that the legs was there as I was catching many of the riders who left before me. I didn’t target a specific time today, I just rode my own ITT. Overall, it was a nice time trial and I’m happy with my performance, as it signals a big improvement and shows that all the hard work is paying off.”
James Knox was another Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider who impressed on Tuesday afternoon, putting in his best ride in a stage against the clock since turning pro at the beginning of 2018 and coming home with a strong time (49:05) that saw him conclude the stage in the top 15, a result on the back of which he continued to move up in the general classification.
“I felt good right from the start and kept pushing, but I also suffered a bit in the closing kilometers. On the other hand, I’m not a time trialist, so this is probably as good as I’m ever going to get. I am ten days into the Vuelta and I’m curious to see how the rest of the race goes and what the remaining mountain stages will hold for me”, the 24-year-old Brit explained.
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