Marc Soler vindicates move away from Movistar with memorable Vuelta a España stage win

Soler secured his second ever Vuelta win and his first for UAE-Team Emirates

Marc Soler
(Image credit: Getty)

Marc Soler has no intention of speaking bad about Movistar, the team where he spent seven years, but he's not going to pretend that isn't happier now at UAE-Team Emirates.

"I needed new challenges," he said. "New motivation. I am grateful to Movistar for the opportunities and they made me the rider I am today, but after so many years, I needed a change.

"Now I am calmer for the confidence that they [UAE] have given me and now I will try to take advantage of it to the full."

Eight months into his adventure with his new employees, Soler has taken his first win, attacking on the finishing climb of stage five of the Vuelta a España and somehow holding off his former breakaway companions.

It's a marked difference from just five weeks ago when Soler missed the time cut at the Tour de France due to a stomach illness.

But he always believed that he could threaten to win bike races again, just like he did with Movistar, albeit lacking consistency.

"In the Tour I had to leave, but each time [he's raced] I have demonstrated this level that I have and that I can win at any moment," the 28-year-old said.

"To achieve a victory like this excites and motivates you, and it helps you going forward. I am very pleased to have won and it gives me desire to continue."

The fact that Soler won from the break is remarkable in itself given that he missed the break's formation and had to bridge across from the peloton solo.

"I didn't expect this, not after yesterday," he said, explaining that he was out of sorts on stage four. "I wanted to get into the breakaway, and I was fighting for it a lot but it went and I couldn't get in there despite wanting to be."

Once he did make it across, his team's boss, Matxín Joxean Fernández - who is from the Greater Bilbao region - asked Soler to provide him with a home win, and thus encouraged him to attack on the final climb. Once he overtook Jake Stewart of Groupama-FDJ, Soler just had to hope he can fend off the chasing pack behind.

It was a nervous finale for the Catalan, with his lead fluctuating between four and 11 seconds for the final 15km, the chase looking destined to catch him only for it to fail to come together to bring him back.

"Matxín had said to me that I had to try on the climb, and in the end I was able to finish it off," he said. "I wanted to try and I gave my best. I only believed that I was going to achieve the victory in the final roundabout, and in the final 200 metres I could enjoy it when I looked behind."

Soler's win justifies his decision to seek new challenges, to chase stages instead of trying to secure high GC placings like he tried at Movistar. It also ended Spain's winless drought at Grand Tours that stretched back to 2020.

"Always they speak about this a lot," he said. "There are a lot of Spanish riders in a lot of teams but a lot of times they have to work for others. It's not so easy, but we also can win."

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