Schultz grabs 13th as the breakaway takes stage 14 of La VueltaWed 4 Nov 2020
It was a case of what could have been for Mitchelton-SCOTT as the breakaway stayed away to take the stage victory on stage 14 of La Vuelta a España.
After battling to get up the road in the early kilometres, the squad missed the move as a strong group of seven escaped and the attackers made it to the finish line to contest the stage.
It was a fast and frantic start to the stage with the peloton covering 50km in the first hour of racing. Mitchelton-SCOTT were active in the fight to get into the breakaway with Colombian Esteban Chaves making it into a short-lived move before a group of seven riders finally broke away.
The day had been tipped as a potential one for a breakaway to succeed on, but the peloton weren’t keen on giving the escapees too much leeway as they capped their progressed at around five minutes. The gap then began to fall steadily from the halfway point of the stage and it was down to three minutes with 35km remaining.
The stage remained in the balance as the pack raced over the third and final climb with the gap hovering around two minutes. Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay then moved towards the head of the bunch as Mitchelton-SCOTT briefly showed some interest in leading the chase inside 20km to go.
However, with no desire amongst other teams to engage in a chase, the peloton knocked off the pace, meaning the fight for victory would be amongst the breakaway. In the end it was Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) who took the win, while Australian Nick Schultz stretched his legs on the ramp up to the line for 13th on the stage.
"It was a super hard start, we were all trying really hard to get in the right move. I think we can see that with the guys that did get up the road, it was seven of the best riders in the world and it went at a super hard moment, and we were all just a little bit pinned at that point.
"Unfortunately, we missed it and because we were all so tired then we decided not to ride, just because none of us were feeling super good. But then Direct-Energie started chasing really hard at the end and we thought it might actually come back, so we got present at the front, but the peloton stopped again and it was evident the break was going to go to the line.
"It was the type of finishing climb that I think could really suit me in the future and even though it was for minor placings, it was a good chance to be up there and see how it went. I went probably a little bit too early and died in the last 100 metres, but it was good fun to be up there, just a shame the break was up the road."
La Vuelta a España - Stage 14 Results:
1. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) 4:37:05
2. Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) ST
3. Zdeněk Štybar (Deceuninck - Quick Step) ST
13. Nick Schultz (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +03:44
La Vuelta – General Classification after Stage 14:
1. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) 53:57:05
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:39
3. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +0:47
13. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +11:29
Photo Courtesy of Bettini Photo.