Today’s stage was a big day in the mountains and the 200km stage included four category climbs, including the special category climb, to the summit finish of La Covatilla. A break was established very early into racing and Ben King was part of the select group of 11, for Team Dimension Data.
Our American rider was in the mix through all the climbs today, picking up valuable King of the Mountain point, which saw him moving up to 2nd spot in the KOM standings with 36 points.
Through the day, the lead for the break stretched to over 9 minutes, and that put Ben King in the virtual leader’s jersey. Groupama – FDJ worked at the front of the peloton to protect the jersey, but only when Team Sky joined the chase did the lead start to drop.
Ben King attacked and went off the front of the race with Lluis Mas (Caja Rural-Seguros) on the steep section at Candelario. King dropped him and started the ascent up to La Covatilla. Mollema put in a strong ride to try and bridge across to King on the taxing climb, bringing the gap down to 18 seconds. Ben King dug deep to make sure that he was first to cross the line, taking his second win in this year’s La Vuelta.
With his win, King moved up in the general classification and is now 18th overall. Louis Meintjes finished 21st on the stage and showed positive signs to stick with the GC group until deep into the final kilometers of the stage. It was a performance that bodes well for our South Africa climber with the tough two weeks still to come.