Vuelta a Burgos: Jens Keukeleire powers away to win an uphill stage two
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Vuelta a Burgos: Jens Keukeleire powers away to win an uphill stage two

by Ben Atkins at 11:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Anthony Roux takes overall lead as Ponzi drops two seconds at the finish

jens keukeleireJens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge) took his first road race victory in the colours of his Australian team in the second stage of the Vuelta a Burgos, between Roa de Duero and Clunia. The Belgian sprinted clear of the front of a splintering peloton in the final half-kilometre of the steady drag to the finish line, and managed to hold off a three-man chase all the way to the line.

As Keukeleire was sitting up to celebrate, Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) was winning the three-way battle for second place, ahead of Dario Cataldo (Team Sky) and Anthony Roux (Fra) A two-second gap to Roux’s teammate Benoit Vaugrenard, wo led race leader Simone Ponzi (Astana) across the line, however, meant that Roux was to take over the purple jersey.

“It was not very easy today,” said Keukeleire. There wasn’t a lot of wind but there was enough to make it nervous in the bunch. You had to stay attentive the whole day.

“The hardest part was 2km from the finish when we took a left turn on a small road,” he added. “Then it gradually started going up to the finish and got steeper in the last kilometre. The team brought me in to a perfect position going into the final stretch.”

The 157km stage saw seven riders escape in the very first moments, as Spanish champion Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Jon Larrinaga and Unai Iparragirre (Euskadi), Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge), Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Luis Guillermo Mas (Burgos BH-Castilla y León) and Egoi Martínez (EUS) broke clear.

Slowly, but surely, the group was allowed to open up an advantage by the Astana team of race leader Simone Ponzi, until it reached a maximum of 3’30” after 46km. From that point the Kazakh team gradually chipped away at the gap, until it was less than two minutes as the leaders entered the final 25km.

With 15km to go, the gap was less than a minute, and Mas attacked the break. Herrada chased across to him, but the rest were unable to follow and steadily drifted back to the peloton.

Under the ten kilometre banner the duo still had 37 seconds, but this was steadily chipped away by the Astana and Cannondale teams. With six kilometres left the two riders looked at one another, sat up, and were absorbed by the peloton shortly afterwards.

Team Sky then took over as the race headed towards Clunia, with Cannondale sitting on the British team’s shoulder. With Meier having been caught, Orica-GreenEdge moved up to take over with two kilometres to go, and began to string out the peloton as it hit the foot of the steady drag to the finish.

Into the final kilometre Nairo Quintana (Movistar) accelerated, but the the king of the mountains and best young rider from the Tour de France was not able to get clear of the front of the bunch. Mauro Finetto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) the attacked past the Colombian, with Keukeleire on his wheel, but a group formed on the back wheels of the two riders and they eased up.

“It was a bit bizarre when Quintana went off the front with an attack at the end,” said Keukeleire. “I’ve never raced with him and I only know him from flying uphill at the Tour. I wasn’t scared when he attacked but I was surprised he thought he could get away at the point.”

Keukeleire kicked again, however, and was able to open up a lead big enough to allow him the luxury of looking back over his shoulder before sitting up to take the victory.

“With 300m to go, I had enough power in my legs to keep going into the finish,” added Keukeleire. “I just went, and I had enough to hold on.

“Winning is always a special moment. It’s extra special when you can finish the work the boys have done for you.”

Result stage 2
1. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge
2. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
3. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky Procycling
4. Anthony Roux (Fra)
5. Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) @ 2s
6. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team
7. Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Katusha Team
8. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
9. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, solutions credits
10. Jeffry Johan Romero (Col) Colombia

Standings after stage 2
1. Anthony Roux (Fra)
2. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team @ 2s
3. Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Katusha Team
4. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge @ 3s
5. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky Procycling
6. Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) @ 7s
7. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
8. Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
9. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale @ 8s
10. Jeffry Johan Romero (Col) Colombia @ 10s


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