Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 2: BMC Racing Team Safely Home After Hectic Finale4. April 2017, Eltziego (ESP) — Road Team
In a similar style to yesterday’s opening day, Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco stage 2 saw a relaxed peloton race through the Basque Country before another fast and furious finish with Loïc Vliegen in the mix behind the stage winner, Michael Albasini (Orica-Scott).
The day’s action started as soon as the peloton hit KM 0 with a two-rider breakaway going clear almost as soon as the flag dropped. The pair quickly extended a steady advantage of 4’30” over the top of the Puerto de Etxauri, with less than 20km of racing covered.
As the race reached the Puerto de La Aldea, the gap between the leading duo and main bunch began to fall with race leader, Michael Matthews’ Team Sunweb taking responsibility at the front of the peloton.
On the descent of the category three climb, the pace of the peloton began to pick up once again. By the time the race reached 40km to go, it had fallen to just only 1’30” before the peloton ultimately re-grouped for the final 16km of rolling terrain.
Over the closing stages of the race, teams began to shuffle into position, but with two crucial uncategorised peaks to navigate before the final drop into Eltziego, the peloton was strung out along the road.
A high-speed approach saw any previously organized lead-out trains dislodged, and a chaotic final bunch sprint soon followed with Albasini taking the day’s honors.
Vleigen was BMC Racing Team’s best-placed rider, crossing the line inside the top twenty while the rest of the eight-rider roster finished safely behind as the race moves to San Sebastian tomorrow, April 5.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“Today I tried for the sprint but it was really fast because of the descent to the line. I had to brake 500 meters from the finish which meant I slipped back a few places. But, it was good to be up there with a finish like that, it was super hectic, and I think that it is all great preparation for my next goals."
"This race is the last preparation before the Ardennes Classics, and I think it is the perfect place to be. The parcours is demanding, it's always up and down but so far my legs are feeling good, and I think my form is where I need it to be."
Sports Director, Yvon Ledanois:
“It was an almost identical day to yesterday which was the perfect situation for the sprinters' teams as they controlled the race. It was a little bit of a dangerous finale with a descent at 1km to go, but we decided not to take any risks as we look ahead to the rest of the week and our goals for this race. The beginning of the race is tomorrow for us. The first two stages were perfect for the sprinters, but from now it's completely different."
"This is always a demanding race. You never want to lose time on a day like today so, I was pleased to see that we didn't do that, especially with a finish like that. We have a strong team I think we will have different options in terms of going for a stage win as well as keeping an eye on the General Classification."
"During today's final, Loïc Vliegen was up at the front alongside Nicolas Roche, and it was good to see one of our younger riders try to take an opportunity, but it was a tricky finish, and no one wanted to take too many risks."
Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco
Stage 2: Pamplona > Eltziego, 173.4km
Top 3: 1. Michael Albasini (Orica-Scott) 2. Ariel Maximilliano Richeze (Quick-Step Floors) 3. Sean De Bie (Lotto-Soudal)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 19. Loïc Vliegen 28. Nicolas Roche 76. Amaël Moinard