Rune Herregodts secures surprise breakaway victory at the Ruta del Sol 2022

The Belgian held off the breakaway to move into the overall lead of the Andalucian stage race

Rune Herregodts wins stage one of the Ruta del Sol.
(Image credit: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)

Sport Vlaanderen–Baloise’s Rune Herregodts outlasted the rest of the breakaway to win the first stage of the Ruta del Sol 2022 and move into the overall lead.

The Belgian rider forced his way past Stephen Bassett (Human Powered Health) in the final 100m of a punchy finish in Iznájar to secure his team’s first win of the year.

His first victory since last year’s Ronde van Drenthe, Herregodts was part of a six-man breakaway that held off the peloton all the way to the line in Andalucia.

Bassett rolled over the line two seconds behind the Belgian, alongside Spaniard Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH).

British rider Mark Christian (EOLO-Kometa) was with the leading group right until the final kilometre but eventually finished sixth, 18 seconds behind Herregodts.

How it happened

The opening stage of the Ruta del Sol saw the peloton head east over hilly terrain in Andalucia, travelling 200.7km from Ubrique to Iznájar.

Eight riders were quick to head off up the road, representing seven different pro teams.

Three Spaniards in the form of Álvaro Cuadros (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Xabier Isasa (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH) were part of the break.

They were joined by the Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise duo of Lindsay De Vylder and Rune Herregodts as well as British rider Mark Christian (EOLO-Kometa), Vojtěch Řepa (Equipo Kern Pharma) and Stephen Bassett (Human Powered Health).

The breakaway didn’t mess about in gaining an advantage on the bunch either, creating a 15-minute gap by the time they reached the first climb after just 25km.

It was Cuadros who picked up the full 10 points at the summit of Puerto de El Boyar.

However, with the peloton keen to not let the stage slip out of their grasp before it had even really begun, soon started eating into to the eight-man group’s lead as the second KOM point was reached at Puerto de Algámitas.

Cuadros scooped up another two to add to his KOM points total, and he would ultimately lead the way in that competition come the end of the day.

As the race moved into the final 50km, the bunch had cut the deficit to seven minutes although the breakaway’s strong resistance made it anything but easy for the WorldTour teams to reel them in.

By the time the riders reached the foot of the Alto La Parilla, the final major climb of the day, the time difference still sat at more than four and a half minutes as Bora-Hansgrohe and Movistar began to ride at the front of the peloton.

The breakaway riders soon started to whittle each other down, with Cuadros and Řepa the first to be dropped.

Team BikeExchange–Jayco and Ineos Grenadiers joined the chase on the Alto La Parilla, but their efforts were to be in vain as the six riders in front summitted the final KOM with a two-minute lead.

The lead group descended into the valley in Iznájar with a comfortable gap on the chasing pack and the stage victory almost assured.

Herregodts, Bassett and Isasa all pushed on as the steep kicker to the line came into sight, yet the Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise rider had the most left in his legs after more than 180km out in front. 

Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates) jumped clear from the bunch inside the final kilometre, only to be chased down by Gonzalo Serrano (Movistar) and Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates).

The Italian came in seventh, 31 seconds down on the stage winner, with the rest of the bunch crossing the line seven seconds later.

Results

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2022, stage one: UBRIQUE - IZNÁJAR (200KM) 

1. Rune Herregodts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise in 5-16-44
2. Stephen Bassett (Usa) Human Powered Health at 2 seconds
3. Ander Okamika (Esp) Burgos-BH at 2s
4. Xabier Isasa (Esp) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 12s
5. Lindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 15s
6. Mark Christian (GBr) EOLO-Kometa at 18s
7. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 31s
8. Gonzalo Serrano (Spa) Movistar at 37s
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 37s
10. Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 38s

General classification after stage one

1. Rune Herregodts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise in 5-16-44
2. Stephen Bassett (Usa) Human Powered Health at 2 seconds
3. Ander Okamika (Esp) Burgos-BH at 2s
4. Xabier Isasa (Esp) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 12s
5. Lindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 15s
6. Mark Christian (GBr) EOLO-Kometa at 18s
7. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 31s
8. Gonzalo Serrano (Esp) Movistar at 37s
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 37s
10. Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 38s

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