Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 2: Kwiato Top 5 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Stays 2nd GC
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Michal Kwiatkowski defended his 2nd place in the overall standings on Tuesday by finishing 4th in the 175.4km Stage 2 of Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. The stage, from Bilbao to Vitoria-Gasteiz, came back together with about 15km to go in the race as three riders out of the original five-rider breakaway were caught.
The pace stayed high all the way until the line, leaving little room for attacks. Etixx - Quick-Step moved to the front inside 2km to go, as the peloton had to negotiate several roundabouts. Fabio Felline (Trek Factory Racing) won the stage, with Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) finishng 2nd and Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) finishing 3rd.
Matthews remains the race leader due to his 2nd place. Gianni Meersman of Etixx - Quick-Step was also 10th.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to Stage 3, 170.7km from Vitoria-Gasteiz to Zumarraga, on Wednesday. The stage will likely be where the big action begins for the General Classification. There are eight categorized climbs that are close enough together along the parcours to allow for little recovery between them. There is another two-lap finishing circuit, but also some technical sections of descending all the way until a very slightly uphill finish.