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Vuelta a Espana Stage 7: Gilbert Finishes Fourth, Atapuma Stays in Red

26. August 2016, Puebla de Sanabria (ESP) — Road Team

Philippe Gilbert sprinted to fourth place. (c) TDWSport.com

Philippe Gilbert sprinted to fourth place on a crash-marred uphill finale on stage 7 of the Vuelta a Espana, which saw Darwin Atapuma retain his overall lead.

The peloton let a six-rider breakaway go away and establish a maximum gap of 3’22”, but they were kept on a tight leash with BMC Racing Team sharing the work at the front of the peloton to control the situation.

Astana Pro Team put the pressure on the peloton to create a split with 50km to go, which saw Samuel Sanchez caught behind, until some solid work from his teammates brought him back to the group.

Multiple late attacks played out in the final 20km of racing, but it ultimately came down to a sprint finish with Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling) taking the win.

Sanchez was caught up in the crash in the final kilometer of racing but escaped relatively unscathed and was awarded the same time as the General Classification group to remain in sixth place overall.

Stage 8 sees Atapuma enjoy his fourth day in the red jersey, with his lead dropping slightly to 24 seconds over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team).

Quotes from the Finish Line

Darwin Atapuma:

“Today it was a fairly quiet stage for me because the team worked well and controlled the stage and let me conserve my energy. Like yesterday the breakaway wasn’t a threat to the GC so we were happy to let them get away as long as they were kept at a realistic distance ahead. We reacted quickly when Astana Pro Team put the pressure on and we stayed calm to bring Samuel Sanchez back to the group. The only tricky and dangerous part was the finish and I needed to brake to avoid the crash, but I stayed alert and got to the finish line without any problems.”

“I never thought that I would have the red jersey for 4 days as I have been taking things day by day. I’m very lucky to keep it for a fourth day but the most important thing for me is that I have good condition. The GC contenders are so strong here that I expected the overall leader to change but I am enjoying every moment in red for as long as I can keep it.”

Philippe Gilbert:

“There’s not much to say really. I was fourth on today’s stage so it was not really a good result. The main thing is that I have nothing wrong with me from the crash yesterday. I definitely missed this opportunity today to win the stage but but we will see for later. I’m not sure exactly which stage will be suited to be as we are now heading for the mountains and then the rest day, but a stage similar to today’s is another good opportunity.”

Race Profile

Vuelta a Espana

Stage 7: Maceda > Puebla de Sanabria (158.5km)

Top 3: Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling), Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team)

BMC Racing Team Top 3: 4. Philippe Gilbert, 16. Ben Hermans, 21. Dawin Atapuma

BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 1. Darwin Atapuma, 6. Samuel Sanchez, 17. Ben Hermans

BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery

See photos from the race.

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