Ethan Hayter began the Vuelta a Andalucía 2021 fresh off his first ever uphill victory at Algarve a couple of weeks previously and with Andalucía featuring a short uphill finish on the first stage, Hayter was a big contender to take the leader’s jersey at the outset.
Despite the ideal finish, Hayter was out of position in the last 1500 of the stage, which was won by Movistar’s puncheur Gonzalo Serrano after they took control of the finale from INEOS with Rojas and Carretero.
Stage two contained a much tougher finish as well as a harder stage beforehand, including two repetitions of the Alto de la Horticuela climb, the last being close to the finish.
Movistar were forced to make a tough decision with 15km to go in the stage, with just Miguel Angel Lopez (their GC leader for the entire race) left in the group to defend the jersey of Serrano, they decided to attack to thin out the 30 man group.
Latvian Toms Skuijns countered Lopez’ move after Serrano was unable to bridge across to the group and Hayter was left in the third group on the road. Despite Skuijns taking a sizeable gap, and the Lopez group not cooperating, all the groups came back together at the base of the final steep cobbled climb, where Ethan Hayter strapped on his jet pack and left everyone behind with a strong seated attack.
The full video by Lanterne Rouge analysing the two stages is below.
Hayter could not have hoped for a better season in 2021 for INEOS, winning nine professional races mostly at .Pro level against solid competition, as well as a top 10 at the World Championships individual time trial. Hayter’s schedule for 2022 has not yet been announced, but it would make sense that the light all-rounder will get a chance to prove himself in World Tour one week races in the coming year – Tour de Pologne with its lack of high mountains seems to be perfect next step up for him.