De Marchi Wins, Sánchez Withdraws At Vuelta a España5. September 2015, Alto Campoo/Fuente del Chivo (ESP) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team's Alessandro De Marchi soloed to victory on a fog-shrouded mountain-top finish Saturday at the Vuelta a España after teammate Samuel Sánchez was forced to withdraw due to an ongoing foot injury.
De Marchi attacked out of a five-man breakaway in the final two kilometers of the 215 kilometer race, the longest of the three-week event. He delivered a victory salute while freewheeling his BMC teammachine SLR01 across the line 21 seconds ahead of Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky) and 32 seconds before José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar Team), who was third.
"With a bit of luck, in the right moment, I had the energy to do a fast attack," De Marchi said. "I was lucky because I do not think I was the strongest."
De Marchi's victory was his first since joining the BMC Racing Team at the beginning of the season. Last year's "most aggressive rider" of the Tour de France was sidelined for four months by tendonitis in his left foot. He only made his return in mid-July.
"I never thought I would be able to win a stage," De Marchi said. "Today was very difficult, first to get in the breakaway and then to take the win. But everything felt great."
Sánchez became the third rider from the BMC Racing Team to leave the race, joining Marcus Burghardt and Tejay van Garderen, who both retired due to injuries from crashes. Dr. Daniele Zaccaria said an infected toenail on Sánchez's right foot had been bothering the 2008 Olympic road race champion for nearly a week.
"We tried to manage the issue with medication, but in the last few days he was fighting against this problem and no longer able to push on the pedals," Zaccaria said.
Sanchez, who had never before withdrawn from a grand tour in 17 starts, said it was not easy to climb off his BMC barely 20 kilometers into the race.
"This is a hard day for me to have to abandon the Vuelta a España," Sánchez said. "The problem with my toenail made it impossible for me to pedal. Yesterday was a really, really hard day for me. I had a lot of pain in my right leg and today it was just impossible after 35 minutes of the race."
Just as Sánchez was stopping, the day's breakaway with De Marchi was forming. With him was Mikael Chérel (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Carlos Quintero (Team Colombia), Puccio and Rojas. Their advantage peaked at 10 minutes over the top of the day's second climb.
BMC Racing Team Sport Director Max Sciandri said the escapees knew they would survive to the finish, but nothing else was certain.
"It was a bit of nerve-wracking race, because even though we were climbing up all the way to the end, the climb wasn't hard until two kilometers from the top," Sciandri said. "It was there that Alessandro made a bit of a move and it really turned out well. This is a good comeback for him."
De Marchi said he knew he was the marked man of the group when Chérel attacked with four kilometers to go.
"Everybody else was was looking at me, so I had to do the big job to bring them back," he said. "Then I had to keep waiting and waiting for the right time."
The victory was the BMC Racing Team's 32nd on the season. It was De Marchi's first since his solo win on Stage 7 of last year's Vuelta a España.
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