Dutchman wins first race in LottoNL-Jumbo colours

Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) sprinted to his first victory of the season on the opening stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in Spain.

Riding his first race in LottoNL-Jumbo colours after transferring from Team Sky over the off-season, Van Poppel benefited from a textbook lead-out as his team controlled much of the last 20km.

The only real threat of the day came from a late move by Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) with three kilometres to go, but when the Italian was caught within sight of the line there was nothing that the other sprinters could do to stop Van Poppel, who took victory by a comfortable margin ahead of Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) and Jurgen Roelandts (BMC Racing)

How it happened

The break of the day consisted of four riders from Professional Continental and Continental level squads: Francisco Mancebo (Inteja DCT), Jose Manuel Diaz (Israel Cycling Academy), Ibai Salas (Burgos BH) and Paul Ourselin (Direct Energie) who enjoyed a maximum lead of around five minutes over the peloton.

However with a flat finish and a bunch sprint expected, the teams of the sprinters were never going to give them a chance, with EF Education First-Drapac, LottoNL-Jumbo, and the smaller Euskadi-Murias team doing plenty of work on the front of the bunch.

The gap steadily fell throughout the final 100km, with the catch made with just under 20km as the peloton made its way towards the outskirts of the coastal town of Peñiscola.

Most of the final 15km kilometres were on wide, open roads with LottoNL-Jumbo patrolling the front of the bunch as they attempted to set up new signing Danny Van Poppel for the stage win, eventually being join by Team Sky with Vasil Kiryienka and Michal Kwiatkowski doing much of the work.

The following few kilometres were relatively uneventful, until an EF Education-First rider crashed near the front of the bunch with three kilometres remaining, while Gianni Moscon found himself with a gap and off the front.

However the Italian’s solo move didn’t last long as he was hunted down by LottoNL-Jumbo in the final kilometre, who put Van Poppel in the perfect position to out-sprint Luka Mezgec for his first win of the season.

Results

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2018, stage one: Oropesa El Mar to Peñiscola, 191.4km

1. Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, in 4-34-13
2. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC Racing
4. Dan McLay (GBr) EF Education First-Drapac
5. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
8. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
9. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
10. Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie, all same time

General classification after stage one

1. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
2. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC Racing
4. Dan McLay (GBr) EF Education First-Drapac
5. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
8. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
9. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
10. Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie