Porte Leads the Way for BMC Racing Team on Vuelta a España Stage 630. August 2018, San Javier. Mar Menor (ESP) — Road Team
On a day that was billed as one for the sprinters in the race, Richie Porte took the opportunity to test his legs by going in the day’s breakaway before the race came back together for a fast and chaotic finale.
Porte, who is continuing to find his race form at the Vuelta a España after crashing out of the Tour de France, was one of the first to attack and drew a three-rider breakaway out at the front of the race in the opening kilometers of the day.
The trio quickly built up an advantage that was sitting at over three minutes after just 5km, of the 155.7km course, but the peloton, being led at this point by a mix of sprinters’ teams and the teammates of race leader, Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), was keen to keep control of proceedings and pulled them back to around 2’30”.
On the Alto del Garrobillo, the first of two category three climbs, Porte and his fellow leaders were able to extend their lead further with the gap peaking at around 3’50” after the summit of the 3.8km long climb with just over 90km to go.
Porte, who is not known for going in the early breakaway, continued to work well at the head of the race, helping to drive the pace despite the chase intensifying behind the leading trio.
After falling to inside two minutes, the gap between the two groups went back out to 2’30” at the top of the 4km long Alto del Cedacero with 52km to go but the peloton was hot on their heels once again as soon as they hit the descent.
The peloton cut the trio’s advantage down to a slim ten seconds as Jorge Cubero (Burgos-BH) attacked again to go solo while Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis) and Porte sat up and waited to be reabsorbed by the bunch heading into the final 30km of the day.
In the end, Cubero’s late move only held off the catch for another couple of kilometers and with the race back together, the bunch sprint looked almost inevitable.
However, a crash with 25km to go saw the peloton split in two and while all of BMC Racing Team fortunately avoided it, they were caught behind in the second group as up ahead crosswinds saw the first part of the bunch shrink further.
It was Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) who eventually took the stage win ahead of Danny Van Poppel (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) after a somewhat reduced sprint for the line. While, Dylan Teuns and Nicolas Roche were BMC Racing Team’s first two riders across the line in the second part of the peloton which finished 1’44” behind Bouhanni.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
“It was a bit of fun today, something different for me. I am starting to feel a little more myself, back to normal and recovered so, it was nice to do something different. I haven’t been in a breakaway for years. It was quite enjoyable.”
“I think it was a good way to test myself. The other option would have been to just sit in the bunch and not do much other than in the final when there was crosswinds and a lot of stress.”
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
“I think for Richie going in the breakaway was a way to test the legs and get some training if you will. It was maybe also a little better for his head to be out in front and riding rather than just sitting in the bunch. I think he is only going to grow stronger from it.”
“We were really nervous about the crosswinds coming into the stage and everyone felt that while there was the potential for crosswinds throughout the day, the last part was the most dangerous. Everyone fought for it and there was a lot of bad luck out there. We just missed the move with Nico so it’s a bit disappointing.”
Vuelta a España
Stage 6: Huércal-Overa > San Javier. Mar Menor, 155.7km
Top 3: 1. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) 2. Danny Van Poppel (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) 3. Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 76. Dylan Teuns 80. Nicolas Roche 95. Brent Bookwalter