Vuelta a Espana – Stage 2


Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) wins stage 2 of the Vuelta a Espana, Alejandro Valverde of Movistar now leads overall

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Vuelta a Espana – Stage 2

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The stage was tailor made for the sprinters with just one category three climb early in the 174.4km stage and a quick run to the line where Nacer Bouhanni showed yet again how quick he was to win the stage from Degenkolb. Race leader is now Alejandro Valverde of Movistar.

It was an incident free day for the Movistar Team’s riders who wore all four jerseys for the different race classification. Valverde’s 21st place, well out of the stress of the sprinters’ fight for the stage win was enough for the Spaniard to wear the Vuelta leading jersey for the 24th time in his career and take some good motivation on the eve of the first uphill finish in the race at Arcos at the end of a 198km parcours from Cádiz including four Cat-3 climbs.

Alejandro Valverde: “To be honest, it wasn’t on the plan that I took the leader’s jersey, but the finish was really nervous and difficult and we had to ride up-front, trying not to lose any time into splits or crashes. I hadn’t even realized I had become the GC leader: I had to come back from the team bus, because I had already left for it”.

“It’s always nice to take the leader’s jersey and I’m happy about this, but I would be even more should any other team-mate don it. It’s great to be ahead of other rivals, but this is not really important for the Vuelta’s final outcome. We will see how everything goes, and if it’s reasonable for us to fight and keep it. There’s quite a decent climb tomorrow, almost 1.5km, and we will have to stay attentive, but it’s just the same as today: you can never relax, otherwise you might lose time.”

The battle for the stage was between some well known sprinters but there was to be no glory for Giant Shimano, so dominant in the Tour de France with Marcel Kittell. John Degenkolb came up short of taking the first sprint opportunity of the Vuelta a España on stage two, coming from a long way back to take second place.

His Giant Shimano team had to work hard in the final kilometres to hold their position through the technical approach to the line but into the final kilometre John sat in around sixth wheel. As the sprint was launched, John had to come from a way back passing riders all the way to the line but not managing to get past Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) who took the stage win.

Early Doors
A break of six riders formed straight after the drop of the flag and that was the situation set for the majority of the day. Six became four after the one and only categorised climb of the day and behind the chase was well organised and steady to keep a check on their advantage out front. The catch was made and into the final ten kilometres the pace continued to rise as different teams prepared their trains for the sprint.

The final few kilometres were technical and the high pace in the bunch made it hard to move up as a team. “We tried to come to the front too early and this meant that when it really mattered we were lacking power,” said Degenkolb after the finish. “This left us too far back and boxed in. I also missed Ramon at the finish too after he got sandwiched in the final kilometres.”

“We planned to do what FDJ did and it worked well for them. It’s frustrating not to take this good opportunity but there will be more chances and we can learn from it and get stronger.”

Bouhanni explained after his victory “We worked very hard for this and found ourselves in a great position. This is a great day for me and my whole team. We have to take our chances when we can and each time I have a chance I will take it. Maybe I can win a couple of stages and I will aim for the points jersey.”

1. Bouhanni Nacer, 4:01:30
2. Degenkolb John, Team Giant-Shimano
3. Ferrari Roberto, Lampre-Merida
4. Stuyven Jasper, Trek Factory Racing
5. Lasca Francesco, Caja Rural – Seguros RGA

8. Boonen Tom, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
17. Froome Christopher, Team Sky
21. Valverde Alejandro, Movistar Team
24. Contador Alberto, Tinkoff-Saxo
25. Quintana Nairo, Movistar Team
42. Yates Adam, Orica GreenEDGE
46. Sagan Peter, Cannondale
50. Kennaugh Peter, Team Sky
114. Craven Dan, Team Europcar
155. Guardini Andrea, Astana Pro Team 0:38
157. Millar David, Garmin Sharp
184.Rowe Luke, Team Sky

1. Valverde Alejandro, Movistar Team 4:15:43
2. Quintana Nairo, Movistar Team
3. Amador Andrey, Movistar Team
4. Castroviejo Jonathan, Movistar Team
5. Erviti Imanol, Movistar Team
6. Izagirre Gorka, Movistar Team
7. Gatto Oscar, Cannondale 0:06
8. Matthews Michael, Orica GreenEDGE
9. Caruso Damiano, Cannondale
10. Bodnar Maciej, Cannondale
11. Yates Adam, Orica GreenEDGE
12. Sagan Peter, Cannondale
13. Chaves Rubio Johan Esteban, Orica GreenEDGE,,
14. Santaromita Ivan, Orica GreenEDGE
15. De Marchi Alessandro, Cannondale
16. Stuyven Jasper, Trek Factory Racing 0:09
17. Bennett George, Cannondale
18. Cancellara Fabian, Trek Factory Racing
19. Zubeldia Agirre Haimar, Trek Factory Racing
20. Arredondo Moreno Julián David, Trek Factory Racing

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