Stage 13 featured seven categorized climbs, including a mountain-top finish to Los Machucos, a climb which is 6.8 kilometers long with an average gradient of 9.2 percent and pitches of 23 percent. With over 4000 meters of climbing, many teams were interested in sending riders into the breakaway and for the first 30 kilometers, nobody was able to break clear.
Paweł Bernas, Patrick Bevin and Will Barta were some of the early attackers and Bernas managed to pull away with two other riders, opening a 15-second lead before being caught after 17 kilometers of racing. Eventually, the breakaway was formed on the first category three climb, the Alto de la Escrita, and it included 29 riders but, with no pure climbers on the roster, CCC Team didn’t make the group and was riding safely in the bunch.
The breakaway established a lead of over eight minutes with 50 kilometers to go but, with a very hard and mountainous finale, it was not certain that the leaders would arrive at the finish ahead of the chasers.
The last man standing got caught with two kilometers to go and the stage was won by Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates), who bested his countryman and General Classification leader, Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma).
Ventoso was CCC Team’s top finisher, finishing in 66th place.
Quotes from the Finish Line:
Jackson Stewart, Sports Director
“The plan was to be in the breakaway and then to see how the race would develop. We did a good job early on, as we covered every move and many of our riders tried to get clear but, none of those attacks were let go and after burning all of our matches we were not able to get into the leading group. It was a very hard stage today, maybe the hardest of this race so, only the typical climbers could fight for the win and after losing Victor de la Parte, who crashed out in the first week, our roster is not suited for such terrain. We will continue to try and look for our opportunities in the undulating terrain, where our riders are their best.”
Stage 13: Bilbao > Los Machucos (166.4km)
Top 3: 1. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) 2. Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) 3. Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale)
CCC Team Top 3: 66. Francisco Ventoso 88. Will Barta 92. Patrick Bevin