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"Joaquim attacked from the leaders group in the final km and he became first among all favorites but it was not enough for the stage victory. Anyway it was a good test for him and he proved he is in good condition."

Photo: A.S.O.

JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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23.08.2015 @ 20:54 Posted by Andy Pedersen

It was only a category 3 finish but with Sunday’s stage 2 the first day of competition in the general classification after the neutralization of stage 1, the overall contenders were all in the hunt to gain time in the final grand tour of the 2015 cycling season. Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez most notably took fifth place at 26-seconds behind Colombian winner Esteban Chaves of Orica-GreenEdge. Teammate Daniel Moreno was attentive also, sprinting in for ninth place, 31-seconds behind the winning time of 3.57.25.

 

“We knew it could be a good opportunity for us to fight for the stage, so we wanted to support Joaquim today. We took the responsibility in the race from the beginning and the team did a really good job. In the final a small group attacked with 3 km to go. It looked like it was only a small gap but later it increased. Joaquim attacked from the leaders group in the final km and he became first among all favorites but it was not enough for the stage victory. Anyway it was a good test for him and he proved he is in good condition and we are motivated for next stages,” said team director José Azevedo.

 

A large crash with 25 km to go saw many riders hitting the asphalt and some being transported to the hospital. Team Katusha riders were safe and sound, controlling the front of the race with Movistar and hitting the climb first with 5 km to go. The only Katusha rider, who was involved in the crash, was Eduard Vorganov, but he did not get any serious injuries.

 

Attacks came quickly after starting the final climb with Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Alpecin), Chaves and Nicolas Roche (Team Sky) separating from the others before Chaves easily out-sprinted Dumoulin with a one-second time gap on the finish line in Caminito del Rey.

 

Third place went to Roche at 9-seconds. Chaves earned the red leader’s jersey and the finish line time bonus gives him a five second advantage over Dumoulin for stage 3. Rodriguez is fifth on the classification.

 

A group of six riders made up the break of the day on the 158,7 km stage from Alhaurín de la Torre to Caminito del Rey. The six cooperated to build a gap of around 3 minutes, but Katusha and others kept the pace high in the peloton to be sure the catch was made before the finishing climb.

 

Monday could bring the first sprint stage for the 70th Vuelta a España. At 158,4 km the stage begins in Mijas and spends much of the day along the coast before taking on a small rise near the end and then a flat finish into Málaga.

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