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Förster wins morning stage at Asturias, Schumacher takes TT, Sutherland in second on GC

It was a big day for UniteHealthcare at the split stage at the Vuelta a Asturias in northern Spain on Friday.

Robert Förster won the morning sector in a bunch sprint marred by a misdirection off-course in the closing kilometers while Rory Sutherland rode to third in the afternoon, 14km time trial and climbed to second overall at 18 seconds back.

Stefan Schumacher (Miche) won for the second day in a row at Asturia, claiming the TT by four seconds ahead of Iván Guitérrez (Movistar) and eight second ahead of Sutherland.

Schumacher leads Sutherland by 18 seconds with José Herrada (Caja Rural) slotting into third overall at 24 seconds back.

In the morning sector, Förster delivered a win for UnitedHealthcare in a chaotic, controversial stage at the Vuelta a Asturias when the peloton was misdirected off-course with about 7km to go to the line.

A breakaway leading by 20 seconds when it was steered off the scheduled route from Gijón to Avilés. The peloton was stopped for more than 15 minutes as officials tried to correct the situation. One rider, Rubén Jiménez (Burgos 2016), made it correctly to the line in apparent victory, but that was later disqualified.

Förster won a bunch sprint when the race was restarted and awarded the victory. Jiménez was relegated to last place.

The race continues Saturday with the 195km third stage from Luarca to Santuario del Acebo.

The stage pushes south into the rugged Cantabrian mountains of northern Spain and hits four climbs, including one called the “well of the dead women,” before tackling the short, but steep summit finish at Alto del Acebo. The final climb is 6.8km with ramps as steep as 16.6 percent grades with an average of 11 percent, enough to put Schumacher under pressure from the Spanish mountain goats.

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