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Rafal Majka claims emotional Vuelta stage win after solo breakaway

Rafal Majka claimed his fifth stage win at a Grand Tour as he broke away alone to take victory on stage 15 of the Vuelta a España.

The UAE Team Emirates rider, who last won a Grand Tour stage in 2017, broke clear on the Puerto de Pedro Bernardo, 100km into the race. Majka kept his chasers at bay for the remaining 87km on the road to El Barraco, and dedicated victory to his late father.

“It’s special. Sometimes you try, and it’s not easy to go for the break. But today I tried from the start to the end, I didn’t wait for anybody today,” Majka said.

“I wanted to win the stage. I wanted to do it for my father, who passed away [recently], for my two kids and also for the great team that UAE is. I’m so happy. I had a bad start of the season, and it was not easy for me and for my family.”

Fabio Aru could not stay with Majka on the penultimate classified climb and the Polish rider stayed clear on the day’s main climb – the Puerto de Mijares – to finish 1min 27sec ahead of the second-placed Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma). Team DSM’s Chris Hamilton was 2min 19sec behind Majka in third.

There was no change to the overall podium places as most of the main contenders finished together. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty) retained the race leader’s red jersey ahead of Guillaume Martin (Cofidis). The defending champion and race favourite Primoz Roglic stayed in third, 1min 36sec behind Eiking going into the final rest day on Monday.

Great Britain’s Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) broke clear of the red jersey group in the final stages to finish fourth and chip away 15sec on his deficit. He sits eighth, now 4min 34sec behind Eiking.