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Vuelta a España 2019 Stage 2 Highlights: Let The GC Battle Begin  | GCN Racing

Vuelta a España 2019 Stage 2 Highlights: Let The GC Battle Begin | GCN Racing

Welcome back to GCN’s Vuelta highlights. Yesterday the race kicked off with a TEAM
Time Trial, and it couldn’t have been a better start for Astana. Not only did Lopez and Fuglsang gain time
on all of their GC rivals, they also won the stage, putting Lopez into the red jersey already
on day one. In contrast, It couldn’t have been a worse
start for Jumbo Visma. Some water had made it’s way on to the course
before a left hand turn, causing a number of their riders to hit the deck, and leading
to Roglic and Kruijswijk losing 40 seconds on the very opening day. UAE also crashed for the same reason, away
from the TV cameras. Smiles all around then for Astana, who’ve
really been on fire all season long. Here’s Lopez receiving his leader’s red
jersey, which he would take into stage 2. Which looks like this, the first road stage
of the race, and it’s not your simple sprint affair. In fact when we look at the profile, the chances
of a sprint finish were slim, at best. Two 2nd category climbs, including one almost
from the very start of the 200km stage, and one third category climb midway through. It looked perfect for both the early breakaway,
and late attacks. It took 13kms of attacking before our breakaway
eventually formed – Sander Armée of Lotto Soudal and Angel Madrazo of Burgos BH, with
Willem Smit of Katusha and Jonathan Lastra of Caja Rural. Behind, Astana were on the front to defend
their lead, the gap still over 5 minutes just before the half way point of the stage. With 42kms to go, Armée decided the pace
wasn’t nearly high enough at the front. A stage winner here two years ago, he flew
the breakaway nest in an effort to go clear solo, and that is exactly what he would do,
nobody able to get on his wheel despite the best efforts of Madrazo. With just 1m14 advantage and still a big climb
to go, though, this was going to be a tough, almost impossible task for the Belgian, particularly
with the GC teams massing at the front of the peloton to get their leaders into a good
place before the start of that climb. By the intermediate sprint, Armee’s lead
was down to just 8 seconds, and soon after, the inevitable happened and he was caught
by the main peloton, being controlled by Jumbo Visma, back to make amends for the mishap
of yesterday. The pace being set at the front by Tony Martin
was enough to put a number of riders into trouble at the back, amongst them sprinter
and Irish champion Sam Bennett. His day will come soon, I’m sure. On to the climb itself, and it was a brutal
pace being set right from the very start – Pierre Latour and Italian Champion Davide Formolo
particularly active at the head of affairs, George Bennett bridging across the leading
duo. They held a slender lead over the rest of
the favourites behind, but after an acceleration by Valverde, they were brought back by a very
select group, that also inclded Quintana, Roglic, and the best placed on GC, Nico Roche. It wasn’t all good news for Jumbo Visma,
though – Steven Kruijswijk, 3rd on GC at the Tour de France, was finding the pace too tough,
and was dropped with still 1km to the top. The World Champion was a man on a mission
today, setting the pace on the front of the group for much of the climb, and then eventually
bridging across to another attack from Bennett and Formolo to take the maximum 5 points at
the top of the climb. There was a small regrouping over the top,
but with no team there en mass, there was no real control, and attacks were flying left
right and centre. Bennett and Formolo continued to animate things,
even on the descent, but, neither of them would make the move that eventually went up
the road. That one was strarted by Mitchelton Scott’s
Mikel Nieve, with Nico Roche glued to his wheel. They were eventually joined by Roglic, Quintana,
Uran and eventually, Fabio Aru. A very dangerous group to let up the road. And the problem for Lopez was that he only
had one rider left in his group to do any chasing – Ion Izaguirre, Basically, it was
one against 6, and so the gap soon started to rise – 13 seconds with 17kms to go. And that had risen to 19 seconds a few kilometres
later. Many of the riders in this group had riders
up the road – the big losers being Astana, Bora, and finally Ineos, who didn’t have
anyone even in this second group. Great to see this man back at the front of
a Grand Tour – Fabio Aru must have been wondering when his luck was ever going to change after
crashing in the TTT yesterday, but he’s clearly on good form, just by the fact that
he managed to bridge over to this group. Into the closing 5kms and the gap had extended
even further, 36 seconds, this was turning into a GC day. The stage win was also up for grabs, as was
the red jersey – Nico Roche in the best position from that point of view, starting the day
just 2 seconds behind Lopez. He was the virtual race leader on the road. Quintana, though, wanted to gain an advantage
on GC AND take the stage. He attacked with 3,1kms to go, and with a
moment’s hesitation from the rest, he had soon got daylight between himself and the
rest. The chase was on, though, and risks being
taken. Here was the moment at which Nieve required
a new chamois. Well saved sir. Into the closing straight and Quintana was
looking incredibly strong – behind Roglic was chasing, keen not to let such a big rival
gain too much time, whilst Roche was biding his time, preferring to concentrate on taking
Red. his biggest rival from that point of view
Uran. For Movistar and Quintana, though, this turned
out to be the perfect day, and one that they couldn’t possibly have expected this morning. This is his last Grand Tour for the team,
for the time being anyway, and what a way to start it. Nairo Quintana won stage 2 of the Vuelta a
Espana, and the way he continued to power all the way to the line tells you all you
need to know about what his overall ambitions are. Great to see him being agressive like that. Behind, Roche sprinted to 2nd, taking 6 bonus
seconds in the process, and also taking himself into the race lead. Brilliant stuff from Quintana, though – and
what a year this is turning out to be for the South AMericans, could they get a clean
sweep of the grand tours? Tomorrow, we should have a sprint. It’s by no means flat, there are a couple
of third category climbs over the 191kms towards the finish line in Alicante, but with the
final 40kms predominantly downhill, there should be ample time for anyone that has been

50 comments on “Vuelta a España 2019 Stage 2 Highlights: Let The GC Battle Begin | GCN Racing

  1. Where was team Astana in the final 20k? I anticipated a strategic surrender of the jersey but this was not the way to do it. Lopez, in the leaders jersey, pulling long hard turns on the front of a chase group for 15-20k in Stage 2 of a Grand Tour is not how you capture the podium. Astana, wake up. You are wasting MAL’s talent.

  2. Didn't got a chance to watch the stage, but was Quintana really expecting to win the stage when he attacked? Still four mountain stages left before the rest day. Ineos is looking to be removed as a factor before the second week at this rate. Maybe going for stage wins then? Looking forward to stages 9 and 10.

  3. How this guy is working for both Eurosport and GCN in the space of a few minutes yet still comes out with gems like “squeaky bum moment” is frankly impressive

    Jumbo Visma Time Trial Crash – What Really Happened by Lanterne Rouge

  5. Brilliant coverage thanks team. Unlike the other summaries we get to see the action and your your take. Many thanks – keep it up.

  6. Great performance and an outstanding attack on the las miles by Nairo Quintana, the Colombian is one of the serious contenders to win it all.

  7. great highlights video. Thanks for sharing. I'll follow you the next 19 days whenever possible. Will not be commenting the quality of the video.
    I know in advance it'll be good.

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