There were no last-minute surprises in the Vuelta a Burgos final stage as race leader Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) held on for overall victory despite Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren) piling on the pressure on the last, brutally steep ascent to Lagunas de Neila.
The consistent Evenepoel has now claimed three wins in all three stage races he has taken part in this season. It is an impressive series of results for any racer, but for one aged 20, even more so.
‘Us older guys are going to have to hurry up and win races,’ Landa observed wryly at the summit of Neila, ‘because at this rate in a few years’ time Remco’s going to be winning everything.’
The day’s triumph on Lagunas de Neila went to another promising young racer, Ivan Sosa (Team Ineos), for a third straight year after breaking away from Evenepoel and Landa in the final kilometre.
But the overall victory remained out of Sosa’s reach, with Evenepoel claiming the GC top prize ahead of Mikel Landa and – after Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) and George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) both cracked on Neila – yet another hugely promising Deceuninck-QuickStep racer, Joao Almeida.
How the SA cyclists fared:
28 Louis Meintjes (NTT Pro Cycling) 2min 11sec behind
78 Nicholas Dlamini (NTT Pro Cycling) 9:15 behind
127 Willie Smit (Burgos-BH) 21:27 behind
14 Louis Meintjes (NTT Pro Cycling) 4min 45sec behind
89 Nicholas Dlamini (NTT Pro Cycling) 35.56 behind
122 Willie Smit (Burgos-BH) 60:23 behind