Team Sky's Mikel Landa carries over great form from Tour de France to win the Vuelta a Burgos in Spain, with Miguel Angel Lopez claiming the final stage honours
Landa won the opening stage to take the leader’s jersey and never looked back, winning stage three to extend his lead and successfully defend it all the way through to its conclusion on the final, steep climb to Lagunas de Neila.
Landa’s third place on the final stage behind Colombian Lopez and fellow Spaniard Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) ensured he topped the final general classification.
Quick-Step duo Mas and David de la Cruz placed second and third overall behind Landa.
The day started with an escape group consisting of 14 riders: Delio Fernandez (Delko Marseille Provence KTM), Ben King (Dimension Data), Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), José Herrada Movistar), Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport), Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Alessandro Bisolti (Nippo-Vini Fantini), David Arroyo (Caja Rural), Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Roompot Nederlandse Loterij), Pablo Torres (Burgos-BH), Pello Bilbao (Astana), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Thomas Sprengers (Sport Vlaanderen) and Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Sky).
The break were allowed only a couple of minutes gap by the Sky-led peloton as the 136km stage navigated the rolling countryside, mindful of the long and decisive final climb.
And as the race hit the bottom of the climb – with 10km to go – Quick-Step, Dimension Data and Caja Rural took over from Team Sky in the pace-making at the front of the peloton.
De la Cruz attacked first from the bunch containing Landa with Antonio Pedrero (Movistar) on the final climb to join up with Alaphilippe, who had dropped back out of the break to help his team-mate. At this point – with 7.5km to go – the remnants of the escape had just 10 seconds over de la Cruz.
As the two Quick-Step riders and Pedrero caught the escapees, Geoghegan Hart managed to stay with them with Alaphilippe swinging off. Perhaps realising that they weren’t making much headway, de la Cruz and Pedrero appeared to ease off and be caught by the Landa group, leaving Geoghegan Hart to continue alone out front.
As he tackled the final climb on his own, Geoghegan Hart opened up a gap of over 20 seconds with 5km to go – with the benefit that Landa and Sky could sit back and let other teams do the chasing with their man on the attack.
Despite having also been in the earlier break, it was Astana’s Bilbao that did the chasing, leading the group of favourites in pursuit of Geoghegan Hart.
As Geoghegan Hart was caught by the GC group with 2.1km to go, Landa put in an acceleration and was only joined by Mas and Lopez (Astana). Behind this lead trio, de la Cruz attempted in vain to try and bridge up to them.
In the steep final few hundred metres to the line, Lopez attacked Mas and Landa to take the victory with Mas claiming second and Landa third, safe in the knowledge that his overall victory was his.
In addition to the overall win, Landa also claimed the mountains and points classification jerseys, underlining his dominance of the race from beginning to end.
Many of the riders present in the Vuelta a Burgos will have used the race to test their form ahead of the Vuelta a España, which starts on Saturday, August 19 – in two weeks’ time. However, Landa will not be among them after riding in both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France this season, the latter of which saw him place fourth overall behind team-mate and winner Chris Froome.
Vuelta a Burgos 2017, stage five: Comunero de Revenga to Lagunas de Neila, 136km
1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Esp) Astana, in 3-11-42
2. Enric Mas (Esp) Quick-Step Floors, at 5 secs
3. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky, at 11 secs
4. David de la Cruz (Esp) Quick-Step Floors, at 30 secs
5. Jaime Roson (Esp) Caja Rural, at 35 secs
6. Igor Anton (Esp) Dimension Data, at same time
7. Daniel Moreno (Esp) Movistar, at 37 secs
8. Sergey Chernetskiy (Rus) Astana, at 48 secs
9. Angel Madrazo (Esp) Delko Marseille Provence KTM, at 1-01
10. Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, at same time
Final general classification
1. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky, in 18-12-47
2. Enric Mas (Esp) Quick-Step Floors, at 40 secs
3. David de la Cruz (Esp) Quick-Step Floors, at 46 secs
4. Miguel Angel Lopez (Esp) Astana, at 51 secs
5. Jaime Roson (Esp) Caja Rural, at 1-18
6. Igor Anton (Esp) Dimension Data, at 1-37
7. Daniel Moreno (Esp) Movistar, at 2-13
8. Sergey Chernetskiy (Rus) Astana, at 2-19
9. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data, at 2-40
10. Jetse Bol (Ned) Manzana Postobon, at 2-49