Ivan Sosa (Team Ineos) unbroken domination of the ultra-difficult Lagunas de Neila climb in the Vuelta a Burgos stretched out for another season on Saturday as the young Colombian clinched his third victory on the tough summit finish in three years.
In 2019, in order to claim victory at Burgos best-known summit finish, Sosa staged a late charge past an earlier attacker, former World Champion Rui Costa, and two years ago, he made a similar move, storming past Sergio Pardilla in the final kilometre.
On this occasion, Sosa first bridged across to the top two GC challengers, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren) late on the cilmb, then launched his last charge for the line with 500 metres to go.
In each case the effect was just the same, with Sosa raising his arms again in a solo victory at the summit of the steep forest road. But unlike in 2019 and 2018, having lost time on the first summit finish of Picón Blanco, this time round Sosa could not claim an overall GC win in the Vuelta a Burgos as well.
“I knew the finish very well, I knew I had to wait until the end, I think I was close to the limit, but we all were exhausted,” Sosa said afterwards.
“The team had the idea of going with Richie [Carapaz] as far as we could get [for GC, with Carapaz taking sixth overall] and to go for the stage win as well. So we can be pleased with what we achieved.”
The flip side for Sosa was that he could not defend the overall titles taken in 2018 and 2019, after he lost over seven minutes on Thursday’s ascent to Picón Blanco.
The young Colombian suffered badly in the crosswinds when echelons formed in the final hour on stage 3, and having dug deep to regain the lead group - which then, ironically enough, was absorbed by the main peloton - he was unable to stay in contention when the GC battle began on the final climb.
“I wanted to try for a third overall title but that couldn’t be, but we got this stage win, we’ll keep on working,” Sosa concluded.
Asked about how he viewed cycling’s return to racing after the enforced gap caused by the outbreak of the pandemic, Sosa made a point of thanking the Colombian Cycling Federation and the Colombian President for working to ensure the South American contingent of riders could make it over to Europe on a specially chartered flight - and race.
Sosa also praised what he called the "well-run organisation" of the Vuelta a Burgos in what is the first major cycling event of the ‘new normality’ and concluded that “it’s great to be back racing here again at last, which is what we like.”