After 25 kilometers, a group of eight escaped isolated. Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal), the best ranked overall in 25th position, was accompanied by the French Rémi Cavagna (Deuceuninck-Quick Step), the Spaniards Angel madrazo, Julen Amezqueta, Jesus Ezquerra, the Colombian Juan Felipe Osorio, the South African Willie Smit and the Australian Robert Stannard. Smit and Amezqueta were quickly taken down and Osorioa after 80 kilometers.
Behind the peloton did not hurry to ensure the regrouping and pointed at 4 minutes.
At the top of Puerto El Portillo (2nd cat./14.3 km at 4.4%), 71 km from the finish, Stannard beat Goossens and Cavagna.
The fugitives who were now only four (Goossens, Cavagna, Stannard, Madrazo) saw the peloton, led by the Ineos Grenadiers approaching, pointing within two minutes when approaching the last 50 kilometers and the last pass of the day the Puerto El Robledo (11.7 km at 3.8%) whose summit was located 35 km from Ciudad Rodrigo. Cavagna placed an attack 4 kilometers from the summit. Only Stannard accompanied him.
The pace of the peloton got the better of the sprinters but all the candidates for the general classification remained grouped together.
The last two attackers of the first hour were about to be absorbed by the peloton on the descent shortly after the summit where Stannard had again preceded Cavagna. The gap had dropped to 6 seconds. Far from getting up, they continued their effort. In the final false-flat, Cavagna found himself alone 17 km from the final banner. The French time trial champion took advantage of the descent and its many turns. The gap rose to almost 20 seconds despite the chase of the peloton led by the Movistar team. At 3 km from the goal, the breakaway lead was reduced to 10 seconds. The junction was finally made at 2000 meters from the banner.
A final attempt by the French Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) was no more successful. Alejandro Valverde started the sprint but he was overwhelmed. Cort Nielsen won his 16th professional victory, his 2nd in 2020 after the 2nd stage of the Etoile de Bessèges and his 3rd in a Vuelta after the 16th and 18th stages in 2016.
Tomorrow / Saturday, the final victory will be played on the 178.2 km between Sequeros and the top of the Alto de la Covatilla, a non-category climb of 11.7 km (6.9% average). A 1st category pass (Puerto del Portillo de las Batuecas), three 3rd category (Alto de San Miguel de Valero, Alto de Cristobal, Alto de Penacaballera) and a 2nd category (Alto de la Garganta) will undoubtedly have animated, or at least hardened, this final mountain stage before the final consecration.
On Sunday, the final race of the 2020 season will end with a 124.2 km stage between the Zarzuela Hippodrome and Madrid.