Breakaway Denies the Sprinters on Vuelta a España Stage 1813. September 2018, Lleida (ESP) — Road Team
Two riders from the day’s three-rider breakaway were able to hold off the chasing pack in the closing meters of Vuelta a España stage 18 to deny the sprinters the opportunity to race for the top step of the podium.
With no categorized climbing, stage 18 provided some relief to most of the peloton with the sprinters’ teams taking responsibility early as a three-rider breakaway went clear in the opening kilometers, of the 186.1-kilometer course.
The gap was kept under tight control, hovering around two to three minutes for the majority of the day as BMC Racing Team’s seven remaining riders sat comfortably in the main bunch, enjoying a relatively calm day of racing looking ahead to the two big days of climbing to come.
With the breakaway still sitting just over two minutes up the road with 20 kilometers to go, the chase began to pick up and it looked like the catch would be made just in time for a fast and furious bunch sprint for the line.
However, the sprinters’ teams still had 20 seconds to make up in the final two kilometers of the day and in the end, Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal) and Sven Erik Bystrom (UAE Team Emirates), the remaining riders from the breakaway, were able to hold off the catch on the finishing straight to take first and second respectively.
As the sprinters’ teams realized that the stage win was slipping out of their hands, the pace at the front of the peloton intensified and, as a result, splits began to form with Joey Rosskopf finishing as BMC Racing Team’s best-placed rider in a group 36 seconds back.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
“It’s nice to have a flat stage between two hilly, or should I say three, hilly ones. There were still some nerves in the bunch because of the wind. The landscape was wide open all day but the wind wasn’t too strong in the end and I would say that it was a predictable finish except a rider from the breakaway won. Other than that though, we knew that which sprinters’ teams were going to control the stage. The breakaway definitely played with the bunch. They were definitely able to dial up the pace in the closing kilometers and make the sprinters’ team work but there wasn’t too much stress for us. It was a day where we tried to race in ‘eco-mode’ to conserve as much energy as possible ahead of the next two stages.”
Vuelta a España
Stage 18: Ejea de los Caballeros > Lleida, 186.1km
Top 3: 1. Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal) 2. Sven Erik Bystrom (UAE Team Emirates) 3. Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 55. Joey Rosskopf 89. Alessandro De Marchi 105. Nicolas Roche