Solo win for Brandon McNulty

The UAE’s Brandon McNulty wins Trofeo Calvià (Stage 1 of Challenge Mallorca) after more than sixty kilometres solo

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Solo win for Brandon McNulty

The UAE’s Brandon McNulty wins Trofeo Calvià (Stage 1 of Challenge Mallorca) after more than sixty kilometers solo. The 23-year-old American of UAE Emirates escaped from a group of favorites in the Trofeo Calvià, a hilly one-day race on the Spanish island, 61 kilometers from the finish and held on to the finish to record his first win of the season.

McNulty : “I’m super happy: it’s a great way to start the year. It was a tough day out there but it was good for me and also for my teammate Joel who came second which was perfect for us. It was up and down terrain all day with no real flat roads so as the group got smaller I was able to establish a gap. I knew if I could hold on it would be tough to chase me down with the twisty, undulating roads. I put the attack in and was able to hold on so I’m very pleased.”

1-2 for UAE with McNulty and Joel Suter

The first European cycling race of the year with World Tour teams at the start saw three riders attack early after the start in Peguera: James Piccoli (Israel-Premier Tech), Mirco Maestri (EOLO-Kometa) and Pablo Alonso (Electro Hiper Europa). They soon got a free pass to build a big lead and the gap to the peloton rose to more than seven minutes.

In the peloton, Lotto Soudal and Movistar were the teams leading the chase. They brought the difference down between the two groups on the steep Coll de Sóller, halfway through the race, to under the minute. On that climb, the peloton broke into several pieces, as a result of which the early break came to an end after 80 kilometers.

On the next Col den Bleda, more than 70 kilometers before the finish, nine riders rode away. This included Tim Wellens, Brandon McNulty, Kobe Goossens, Einer Rubio, Diego Rosa and 18-year-old professional debutant Cian Uijtdebroeks. That group did not last long, but the race had come to life.

McNulty opted for the solo and took a 40 second lead over a sizeable group of favorites including Alejandro Valverde, Emanuel Buchmann, Michael Matthews, Harm Vanhoucke, Warren Barguil, Simon Clarke, Wellens, Uijtdebroeks and Goossens. The UAE Emirates rider managed to extend his lead over the Coll den Claret and on the descent to a minute.

A new group then managed to wriggle free from the peloton and came closer to McNulty. Vincenzo Albanese, Buchmann, Clarke, Simon Geschke, Goossens, Matteo Jorgenson, Lukasz Owsian, Joel Suter, Valverde, Wellens and Ben Zwiehoff failed to close the gap though. The lone frontrunner entered the last 25 kilometers with a lead of 45 seconds.

That was the signal for old warrior Valverde to attack on the Coll de sa Gramola, but the Movistar leader was not given any space by his fellow escapees.

Meanwhile, McNulty, a recognized time trialist, kept pushing hard and started the last serious hill of the final with just under a minute lead. That gap grew further to over the minute, so that the American could head for the finish without pressure from the chasers behind.

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “I felt really good today. We wanted to take the initiative with the team on the descent of the Coll de Sóller, which we did and there the race exploded. Afterwards, I was part of a breakaway with McNulty, who went solo and took the win. There’s no arguing, he was the best man in the race. Back in the chasing group, we looked at each other and it was impossible to get away. In the end, I could take third place in the sprint (4th in the race), which I’m happy with. The most important thing to remember from today is that we set a strong team performance and that we kicked off the season in the right way.”

1. Brandon McNulty, UAE Team Emirates
2. Joel Suter, UAE Team Emirates + 1:17
3. Vincenzo Albanese, EOLO-Kometa Cycling Team
4. Tim Wellens, Lotto Soudal
5. Simon Clarke, Israel-Premier Tech
6. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar Team
7. Laurens Huys, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
8. Lukasz Owsian, Team Arkéa-Samsic
9. Emanuel Buchmann, BORA-hansgrohe
10. Ben Zwiehoff, BORA-hansgrohe

11th Michael Matthews
63rd Thomas Armstrong
82nd Matt Holmes
120th Jack Bauer


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