A cluster of 18 men in the dying minutes of day 12 made for captivating viewing as the Vuelta a España reaches its midpoint. At the end of it, it was Frenchman Alaxandre Geniez who saw the finish line first seeing off Team Sky’s Dylan van Baarle and Mark Padun of Bahrain-Merida.
Etapa 12 – Stage 12 #LaVuelta18
— La Vuelta (@lavuelta) 6 September 2018
The day included its tempers as Geniez collided with a wandering official at the finish line leading some of the other riders to get caught up in the crash though no one was seriously injured.
When the heat died down, however, it was clear that the Vuelta had a new leader in Spaniard Jesús Herrada from Cofidis, who now has a 3 minute 22 advantage over second place Simon Yates.
Colombia’s Nairo Quintana dropped a place on the day, the gap between him and leader Herrada now three minutes and 36 seconds. The soft-spoken Quintana lauded the victor after the race: “A great joy for [Jesús Herrada],” he said after the twelfth stage, “a great sprinter, good in all fields and for many years a team mate, I congratulate you. La Camperona is exceedingly hard, I hope we have good enough legs and can take the advantage. “
Quintana is now in Movistar company with his teammate Alejandro Valverde, who is now merely a second behind Yates in third place.
Quintana’s compatriots aren’t that far behind either with Miguel Ángel López in eigth place and Rigoberto Urán in ninth. Less than 20 seconds separate the three Colombians in what is turning out to be a strong showing for the country.
The Vuelta now moves to the mountaineous stage that begins in Candás. In addition to climbing the daunting La Camperona, riders will also have to face the mountain pass of Puerto de Tarna where major clusters like today’s dramatic finish are unlikely to occur.