Geoffrey Soupe scoops surprise win at Vuelta a España

Three Irish riders will be part of the field in the GP de Plouay on Saturday in France

Geoffrey Soupe clocked up the biggest victory of his career on Friday, winning stage seven of the Vuelta a España with a superbly timed sprint.

The 35 year-old Frenchman – whose only previous career victories had been three stages plus the overall classification in the modest La Tropicale Amissa Bongo race in Africa – launched early coming around the final corner, got a gap and held off a hard-chasing Orluis Aular (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA), plus the rest of the bunch.

Double stage winner Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was completely outmanoeuvred by Soupe, netting fifth at the finish in Oliva.

The stage was always expected to end in a sprint but featured a long and ultimately unsuccessful breakaway by José Herrada (Cofidis) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH). The move ended with just over 40 kilometres remaining.


Overall race leader Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) avoided a number of crashes during the stage, including one which put Ineos Grenadier’s co-leader Thymen Arensman (Ineos Grenadiers) out of the race.

Martinez took over the race leader’s red jersey on Thursday and will continue his tenure as the youngest rider ever to lead the Vuelta. The 20-year-old son of 2000 Olympic mountain bike champion Miguel Martinez is eight seconds clear of Thursday’s winner Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma).

His team-mate Jonas Vingegaard picked up a two second time bonus by placing third in the day’s intermediate sprint and is now poised just three seconds behind Remco Evenepoel (Soudal – QuickStep), the best-placed of the overall favourites.

The Vuelta continues on Saturday with the first of two tough mountain stages.

Meanwhile three Irish riders will be part of the field in the GP de Plouay on Saturday in France. Megan Armitage (Arkéa Pro Cycling Team), Alice Sharpe and Mia Griffin (both Israel Premier Tech Roland) are part of the line-up for the women’s WorldTour event. The race is part of Griffin’s comeback after a four-month lay-off from competition due to concussion.

Elsewhere Sam Bennett and Bora-hansgrohe team-mate Ryan Mullen will be among the starters at the Tour of Britain, which begins in Altrincham on Sunday and runs for eight days. Also competing will be 2022 Irish champion Rory Townsend (Bolton Equities Black Spoke).

Talented Under-23 Darren Rafferty will contest the Maryland Cycling Classic with his Hagens Berman Axeon team on Sunday.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling