MADRID, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Alberto Dainese (DSM-Firmenich) clinched victory in a bunch sprint at the conclusion of the Vuelta a Espana cycle race's 19th stage, which took an unexpected turn on Friday.
The stage spanned 177 kilometers from La Baneza to Iscar in central Spain and was largely uneventful until a high-speed crash occurred just as teams were gearing up for their final sprint.
Given the mountain-dominated nature of this race, a sprint stage like this offered little opportunity for a breakaway. The Alpecin-Deceuninck team, in particular, exerted significant effort to reel in the four breakaway riders, aiming to position Kaden Groves for his third stage win.
However, their aspirations were dashed when Groves, along with two of his Alpecin teammates, were ensnared in a crash. This mishap was triggered by an EF Education-EasyPost member who inadvertently caused a touch of wheels with only 1.5 kilometers remaining.
With Groves out of contention for the sprint, Dainese outpaced Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) and Marijn van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost), the latter belonging to the team responsible for the crash.
The overall standings remained unchanged. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo Visma) leads teammates Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic by margins of 17 seconds and one minute eight seconds, respectively.
Saturday's Stage 20 is set to be a challenging 208 kilometers, featuring nine third-category climbs around a circuit north of Madrid. Despite the relentless nature of the stage, significant time differences among the frontrunners are not anticipated.