Orica-GreenEDGE rider Jens Keukeleire raced to a stunning victory on the Thursday’s rolling 157km stage two of the Vuelta a Burgos between Roa de Duero and Clunia, while FDJ’s Anthony Roux took control of the general classification.
Keukeleire powered away in the final few hundred metres of the second consecutive uphill finish of the race to win by a bike length, forcing Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale) into second and Dario Cataldo (Sky) to take third place.
But the Belgian winner had to overcome an attack from Nairo Quintana (Movistar) to take victory, as the Colombian attempted to break free of the peloton within the final kilometre. Jeffry Romero (Colombia) also made a bid for glory in the closing kilometre, however Keukeleire’s surge to the line quickly neutralised that attack.
A six-rider breakaway gained a maximum lead of 3’30″ earlier in the day and held out for a significant period of the race, before the peloton stepped up the pace and pulled them back quickly within the final 40km.
It was then Orica-GreenEDGE who took up the initiative on the front, after a two-man breakaway consisting of Luis Mas (Burgos BH-Castilla y Leon) and Jesus Herrada (Movistar) held out for around nine kilometres having escaped with around 15km remaining.
With a number of attacks coming on the final climb, only five men were left at the head of the race when Keukeleire finally made his perfectly timed move for victory.
France’s Roux finished fourth on the stage to put himself at the top of the overall standings, two seconds ahead of yesterday’s stage winner Simone Ponzi (Astana).
Stage two result
1 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEDGE, 3:37:02
2 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, same time
3 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Team Sky, st
4 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ, st
5 Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ, +2sec
6 Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana, st
7 Sergey Chernetskiy (Rus) Katusha, st
8 Mauro Finetto (Ita) Vini Fantini, st
9 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, st
10 Jeffry Romero (Col) Colombia, st
1 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ, 6:53:36
2 Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana, +2sec
3 Sergey Chernetskiy (Rus) Katusha, same time
4 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEDGE, +3sec
5 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Team Sky, st
6 Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ, +7
7 Mauro Finetto (Ita) Vini Fantini, st
8 Mikael Cherel (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
9 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +8
10 Jeffry Romero (Col) Colombia, +10