La Vuelta ciclista a España

Stage 20) Arenas de San Pedro – Plataforma de Gredos

ES Spain, Saturday 14 September 2019
190.4 km

Vuelta a España: Knox fights admirably on atrocious day

Vuelta a España: Knox fights admirably on atrocious day

Battered, bruised and heavily bandaged after hitting the floor on the roads to Toledo, James Knox started the penultimate stage of the race knowing it was going to be a complicated day, one of suffering over the six classified climbs that promised – with the help of some nagging rain – to shuffle the deck again, twenty-four hours before Madrid: Puerto de Petro Bernardo, Puerto de Serranillos, Alto de Navatalgordo, Puerto de Chia, Puerto de Peña Negra, and Plataforma de Gredos.

Despite the fatigue of the last three weeks and the prospect of a leg-sapping day in one of Spain’s biggest provinces, it all kicked off in the peloton on the slopes of the first ascent, where several teams showed their intentions and went on the rampage, stringing out the bunch. Among those suffering following this brisk start of affairs was also James Knox, who began dangling at the back on Serranillos, the climb made famous by Bernard Hinault back in 1983, but pushed on helped by the amazing and brilliant Wolfpack, who rallied around him and paced the Cumbrian as he returned to the group.

Under a dark, murky sky, the elastic finally snapped on Puerto de Chia, where a brutal acceleration of the GC teams left around 25 riders in the reduced peloton, and many others struggling. Knox had several of his teammates to look for him, including Zdenek Stybar, one of the race’s unsung heroes, and roommate Philippe Gilbert, and kept battling on admirably and ignoring the pain on the remaining climbs despite the gradient that began to bite which each pedal and ferocious headwind.

The 2012 World Champion displayed his class as he continued to sacrifice himself and accompanied James – whose sheer grit and incredible gutsy ride earned him an entire legion of fans and huge respect – all the way to the finish, where he arrived with a deficit of over eleven minutes, which unfortunately put him out of the top 10 overall for a mere and painful 21 seconds. Despite this cruel setback, his odyssey over the past three weeks hasn’t been anything short of remarkable, as James kept hitting new heights, be it on the mountains or in the crosswinds, and took a lot of heart from the huge leap forward he has made in just his second pro season with Deceuninck – Quick-Step.

“I can’t really put into words what it means to have Philippe and Zdenek pushing me on all the way to today’s finish line. I never suffered so much on a bike before and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have made it to the end of the day without my wonderful teammates. I’m emotionally and physically drained now and I am looking forward to finally reaching Madrid on Sunday”, an exhausted and emotional James Knox said before jumping onto the bus.

 

Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images

Race details

1 Tadej Pogačar
UAE-Team Emirates
5:16:40
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte
Movistar Team
1:32
3 Rafał Majka
BORA - hansgrohe
,,
4 Hermann Pernsteiner
Bahrain Merida
,,
5 Primož Roglič
Team Jumbo-Visma
1:41
6 Sergio Higuita García
EF Education First
1:49
7 Dylan Teuns
Bahrain Merida
,,
8 Nairo Quintana Rojas
Movistar Team
1:56
9 Mikel Nieve Iturralde
Mitchelton-Scott
1:59
10 Wilco Kelderman
Team Sunweb
,,
36 James Knox
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,
44 Philippe Gilbert
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,
58 Zdeněk Štybar
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,
61 Rémi Cavagna
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,
73 Eros Capecchi
Deceuninck - Quick Step
34:40
100 Fabio Jakobsen
Deceuninck - Quick Step
38:44
107 Tim Declercq
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,
152 Maximiliano Richeze Araquistain
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,
1 Primož Roglič
Team Jumbo-Visma
80:18:54
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte
Movistar Team
2:33
3 Tadej Pogačar
UAE-Team Emirates
2:55
4 Nairo Quintana Rojas
Movistar Team
3:46
5 Miguel Ángel López Moreno
Astana Pro Team
4:48
6 Rafał Majka
BORA - hansgrohe
7:33
7 Wilco Kelderman
Team Sunweb
10:04
8 Carl Fredrik Hagen
Lotto Soudal
12:54
9 Marc Soler Giménez
Movistar Team
22:27
10 Mikel Nieve Iturralde
Mitchelton-Scott
22:34
11 James Knox
Deceuninck - Quick Step
22:55
32 Philippe Gilbert
Deceuninck - Quick Step
1:49:24
52 Rémi Cavagna
Deceuninck - Quick Step
2:35:04
56 Zdeněk Štybar
Deceuninck - Quick Step
2:39:31
78 Tim Declercq
Deceuninck - Quick Step
3:26:27
120 Eros Capecchi
Deceuninck - Quick Step
4:24:56
146 Fabio Jakobsen
Deceuninck - Quick Step
5:06:55
149 Maximiliano Richeze Araquistain
Deceuninck - Quick Step
5:20:32
1 Primož Roglič
Team Jumbo-Visma
155 pt
2 Tadej Pogačar
UAE-Team Emirates
136 pt
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte
Movistar Team
132 pt
4 Sam Bennett
BORA - hansgrohe
114 pt
5 Nairo Quintana Rojas
Movistar Team
100 pt
6 Miguel Ángel López Moreno
Astana Pro Team
76 pt
7 Philippe Gilbert
Deceuninck - Quick Step
73 pt
8 Dylan Teuns
Bahrain Merida
69 pt
9 Sergio Higuita García
EF Education First
62 pt
10 Rafał Majka
BORA - hansgrohe
62 pt
11 Rémi Cavagna
Deceuninck - Quick Step
56 pt
23 Maximiliano Richeze Araquistain
Deceuninck - Quick Step
36 pt
24 Fabio Jakobsen
Deceuninck - Quick Step
34 pt
30 Zdeněk Štybar
Deceuninck - Quick Step
28 pt
35 James Knox
Deceuninck - Quick Step
24 pt
55 Tim Declercq
Deceuninck - Quick Step
15 pt
1 Tadej Pogačar
UAE-Team Emirates
80:21:49
2 Miguel Ángel López Moreno
Astana Pro Team
1:53
3 James Knox
Deceuninck - Quick Step
20:00
4 Sergio Higuita García
EF Education First
29:22
5 Ruben Guerreiro
Team Katusha Alpecin
39:10
6 Tao Geoghegan Hart
Team INEOS
1:00:48
7 Kilian Frankiny
Groupama - FDJ
1:08:47
8 Óscar Rodríguez Garaicoechea
Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
1:10:19
9 Ben O'Connor
Team Dimension Data
1:22:58
10 Sepp Kuss
Team Jumbo-Visma
1:32:38
15 Rémi Cavagna
Deceuninck - Quick Step
2:32:09
43 Fabio Jakobsen
Deceuninck - Quick Step
5:04:00
1 Geoffrey Bouchard
AG2R La Mondiale
76 pt
2 Ángel Madrazo Ruiz
Burgos-BH
44 pt
3 Sergio Samitier Samitier
Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
42 pt
4 Tadej Pogačar
UAE-Team Emirates
38 pt
5 Tao Geoghegan Hart
Team INEOS
35 pt
6 Wout Poels
Team INEOS
31 pt
7 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte
Movistar Team
29 pt
8 Sergio Henao Montoya
UAE-Team Emirates
27 pt
9 Jakob Fuglsang
Astana Pro Team
24 pt
10 Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel
Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
22 pt
15 Philippe Gilbert
Deceuninck - Quick Step
13 pt
32 James Knox
Deceuninck - Quick Step
7 pt
1 Movistar Team 240:01:24
2 Astana Pro Team 51:38
3 Team Jumbo-Visma 2:03:42
4 Mitchelton-Scott 2:26:47
5 AG2R La Mondiale 3:14:09
6 Team Sunweb 3:20:01
7 Euskadi Basque Country - Murias 3:38:55
8 Bahrain Merida 3:45:14
9 Team Dimension Data 3:55:52
10 Team INEOS 4:00:34

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