Vuelta 2019: Sergio Higuita solos to glory, Primoz Roglic retains lead

The 18th stage is the penultimate chance for the GC riders to put pressure on the red jersey. Miguel Ángel López goes all in and his reward is the white jersey. Primoz Roglic stays in the GC lead, while young Sergio Higuita powers to victory with a 50 kilometres solo. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results 18th stage Vuelta a España 2019

1. Sergio Higuita (col)
2. Primoz Roglic (slo) + 0.15
3. Alejandro Valverde (spa) s.t.
4. Rafal Majka (pol) s.t.
5. Miguel Ángel López (col) + 0.17
6. Carl Fredrik Hagen (nor) + 1.16
7. Louis Meintjes (rsa) s.t.
8. Nairo Quintana (col) s.t.
9. Tadej Pogacar (slo) s.t.
10. Óscar Rodríguez (spa) + 3.47

11. Hermann Pernsteiner (aut) + 3.47
15. Marc Soler (spa) + 4.22
16. Wilco Kelderman (nld) + 4.50
17. James Knox (gbr) s.t.

GC after stage 18
1. Primoz Roglic (slo)
2. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 2.50
3. Nairo Quintana (col) + 3.31
4. Miguel Ángel López (col) + 4.17
5. Tadej Pogacar (slo) + 4.49
6. Rafal Majka (pol) + 7.46
7. Wilco Kelderman (nld) + 9.46
8. Carl Fredrik Hagen (nor) + 11.50
9. James Knox (gbr) + 12.44
10. Marc Soler (spa) 21.09

Race report
Wout Poels attacks early on the first climb and he reaches the summit 40 seconds ahead of KOM leader Bouchard and the peloton. Bouchard, Higuita, Ludvigsson, Meintjes, Schultz and Hart bridge across, while Oliveira, Fraile, Koch, Powless and Rodriguez rejoin the leaders on the early slopes of the Puerto de la Morcuera. Bouchard cements his lead at the summit with the peloton 5 minutes behind.

Meintjes and Koch hit the next climb with a small lead, but they are brought back before the top. Astana sets the pace in the peloton to bring the gap down to 3 minutes before López accelerates.

Bouchard is the first attacker over the summit. López is 1 minute behind and the red jersey group is another 20 seconds further back.

Higuita goes alone in the downhill and he tackles the Puerto de Cotos almost 1 minute ahead of the chasers. All groups come together.

While Higuita extends his lead to 1.30 minutes López puts pressure. He succeeds after several attacks and drops his rival in the young rider classification, Pogacar. Quintana can’t follow the pace either.

Higuita travels 45 seconds ahead of Roglic, Valverde, López and Majka over the pass. Which is enough to seal the stage honours. Roglic bests Valverde in a prestige sprint for second place, thus extending his lead even more.

Quintana crosses the line 1 minute later and drops to third place. López moves up to fourth, overhauling Pogacar and taking the white jersey from the young Slovene.

Another interesting read: route 18th stage 2019 Vuelta.

Vuelta a España 2019 stage 18: route, profiles, more

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