• The classics atmosphere made Philippe Gilbert feel right at home on Stage 12 of La Vuelta. (Getty)Source: Getty
Philippe Gilbert earned the 10th Grand Tour stage victory of his career by winning stage 12 of the Vuelta a España while Primoz Roglic held on to the red jersey with no change in the general classification.
Cycling Central

6 Sep 2019 - 5:40 AM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2019 - 7:33 AM

Now in the twilight of his career, the 37-year-old Gilbert, who is moving from his current team Deuceninck-Quick Step for Lotto Soudal in 2020, reminded everyone that he still has a lot to give after making his move on the final climb of the day with 40 kilometres to go.

In the finale, he was challenged by Alexander Aranburu (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Fernando Barcelo (Euskadi Basque Country-Murias), both also from the 19-rider break which formed after 100 kilometres of hard racing.

Gilbert attacked just over a kilometre from the Alto de Arraiz summit and maintained it during the downhill finale into Bilbao to win the hilly 171.4 km stage, from Circuito de Navarra.

He crossed the finish line three seconds ahead of Aranburu, who narrowly took second over Barcelo. 

The peloton finished three minutes and two seconds down with no change in the overall standings despite the best efforts of Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), who attempted an attack but was quickly reeled in by race leader Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).

"The final climbs were a bit like the Ardennes," Gilbert said. "I like this kind of short effort, I’m able to be among the best when it’s under 10 minutes of climbing.

"It’s also special because it’s my 10th stage victory on a Grand Tour and that makes a nice number.

"The atmosphere in the last climb was crazy. It felt like a classic, with all the flags and the crowds. It gave me a lot of motivation. The Basque Country is a bit like Flanders, they love cycling and it’s nice."

The Vuelta moves back into the mountains for the 166.4 km stage from Bilbao to Los Machucos where Roglic can expect to face pressure from Lopez and the Movistar duo of Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana.

"I don’t know Los Machucos, it will be my first time up there," Roglic said. "I know there are very steep ramps, it will be a hard climb for sure.

"The team will have to work from km 0, to control who’s in the breakaway and then control the stage. The GC guys will attack in the last climb.

"We’ll be alone and it will be about making it to the top as fast as possible."

The Vuelta a Espana resumes tonight with Stage 13 and its mountain top finish LIVE from 11pm AEST on SBS Viceland or if you can't stay up, catch up with the daily highlights on SBS at 5pm or here on our website. 

Vuelta a España: why you should watch the rest of Week 2
Hectic racing, epic crashes, team disharmony, a marijuana crop - the Vuelta's already dished up some quality storylines. And it ain't over yet. Lean into your FOMO and catch Stages 12-16 on SBS Viceland or streaming here or via SBS On Demand.