La Vuelta a España Stage 2: Brambilla in Top 20, Bouet Top 25
Etixx - Quick-Step riders Gianluca Brambilla and Maxime Bouet finished 16th and 23rd, respectively, in the 158.7km 2nd Stage of La Vuelta a España on Sunday.
Bouet finished in the top 25 despite being involved in a crash between 50 and 60 kilometers to go. He fell due to a substance on the road, along with other riders. But he was okay, though he did suffer some scratches, and managed to still compete in the stage.
Though the stage was only classified as medium mountain, the Category 3 summit finale, combined with attacks in rapid succession and a high pace in the peloton, resulted in the field splintering and finishing with small gaps between riders.
Johan Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreeenEDGE) won the stage in a two-up uphill sprint finale, beating Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) to the line in the final steep meters. Nicolas Roche (Team Sky) was distanced heading into the last few hundred meters and placed 3rd. Dumoulin, Roche, Quintana, and Louis Meintjes (MTN - Qhubeka) had an advantage on the field in the final few kilometers, and then Roche, Quintana, and Dumoulin pressed on with 2.1km to go. Chaves eventually bridged and tried to pass the trio of leaders, but they stayed with him. Eventually Quintana was also distanced. Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) also tried to bridge, but was unable to close the gap. He did, however, pass Quintana before the finish line, as did Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).
Pieter Serry, like Bouet, also crashed during the stage. He crashed at 30km remaining, but did not suffer serious consequences. Serry finished the stage with scratches.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to 158.3km Stage 3, from Mijas to Málaga, on Monday. The finale is flat, but the parcours is defined by the difficult Category 1 Puerto del León in the middle of the stage. There is a brief section of the 5% average gradient, 16km climb with a 15% ramp.