Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) came out best in a bunch sprint to win the first road stage of the Vuelta a Espana on Sunday.
The majority of the riders finished together in the bunch to register the same time, but Alejandro Valverde takes the leader’s jersey off Movistar teammate Jonathan Castroviejo by finishing in higher position than him today.
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In winning, Bouhanni claims 10 bonus seconds, but his FDJ team finished too far down in yesterday’s team time trial for him to claim the leader’s jersey. All the GC favourites finished safely in the bunch together.
It was a dominant performance from both Bouhanni and his team. Only John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) could match the Frenchman’s acceleration in the finale, but he had too much ground to make up after FDJ had brought their leader to the front.
A series of tight corners in the final few kilometres ensured competitive racing for positions, and it was FDJ who led the bunch into them. It looked for a moment on the finishing straight as though Bouhanni had run out of teammates, with only one domestique left and over 500 metres to go. But Geoffrey Soupe emerged from further down the line to lead out Bouhanni, who was able to delay opening his sprint, and won at a canter.
Behind, Degenkolb outsprinted Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) and 22-year old Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Factory Racing) to finish second.
Peter Sagan’s Cannondale team were present at the front in the finale, but the Slovak did not manage to contest the sprint.
Prior to the sprint, the day passed without incident. Six riders formed the break of the day: Francisco Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural), Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida), Romain Hardy (Cofidis), Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp), Jacques Jense Van Rensburg and Kristian Sbaragli (both MTN-Qhubeka).
Chris Froome (Sky) finished the day safely in the bunch. The Sky team ensured he stayed towards the front for much of the day, and had no problems in the tricky final corners.
Vuelta a Espana 2014, stage two: Algeciras to San Fernando, 174km
1 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ in 4-01-30
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano
3 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing
5 Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural
6 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Cannondale
7 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2r
8 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
9 Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin
10 Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling all same time
Overall Classification after stage two
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 4-15-43
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
3. Andrey Amador (Crc) Movistar
4. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar
5. Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar
6. Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar
7. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Cannondale at 6 secs
8. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 6 secs
9. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 6 secs
10. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale at 6 secs
11. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at 6 secs
52. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 27 secs
54. Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky at 27 secs
169. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Sharp at 1-45
191. Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky at 2-37
8. Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar
9. Jose Herrada (Spa) Movistar all same time
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 6 secs
Jonathan Castroviejo is first rider to wear the leader's jersey in the 2014 Vuelta a Espana
Images from the opening team time trial of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana. Photos by Graham Watson
A look ahead to the final Grand Tour of the 2014 season, the Vuelta a Espana, starting on Saturday, August