Jasper Stuyven sprints to Vuelta stage 8 victory ahead of Pello Bilbao and Kevin Reza after crashes knock out several big names

Jasper Stuyven (Trek Factory Racing) sprinted to his first ever WorldTour win in the Vuelta’s eighth stage Saturday, at the end of a messy day that saw numerous big names hit the deck, including Stuyven himself. The 23-year-old Belgian managed to win the day despite suffering what was later revealed to be a broken left scaphoid bone. Though caught up in one of the day’s crashes, Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) finished in the pack, retaining his race lead.

The 182.5km stage from Puebla de Don Fadrique to Murcia started off with relative calm. After 20km, the peloton allowed the escape of a six-man breakaway group, consisting of Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin), Iljo Keisse (Etixx-Quick-Step), Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar), Tom Van Asbroeck (LottoNL-Jumbo), Jasper De Buyst (Lotto-Soudal), and Ángel Madrazo (Team Colombia). Tinkoff-Saxo and Giant-Alpecin set the pace in the bunch, keeping the break on a short leash.

Then, the calm day turned chaotic as a huge pileup about 50km from the stage finish left several riders injured. Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), and Kris Boeckmans (Lotto-Soudal) were among the most seriously hurt in the crash, with all four abandoning the Vuelta after the incident. Stuyven and race leader Chaves hit the pavement as well, but both were able to catch back onto the peloton.

Not long after, lone morning breakaway survivor Howes crashed into a barrier on a descent, spelling the end of the early break. Movistar’s José Joaquín Rojas went down on the same descent the second time through. Then, in the final few minutes of the stage, as the peloton was closing down a flurry of late attacks, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) appeared to be taken out by a race vehicle just when he seemed poised to contend for the stage victory.

After a number of late moves were reeled in, Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal) launched one final attack inside the last 3km of the stage, but a charging pack closed down the attempt to set up a sprint from a reduced field. Stuyven proved fastest in the sprint, with Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural) taking second and Kevin Reza (FDJ) finishing in third.

Top 10, stage 8

 

Top 10, GC


After taking the stage win, Stuyven received medical attention for a wrist injury sustained earlier on in the day in the big pileup. Trek Factory Racing revealed via Twitter that Stuyven had suffered a broken scaphoid, before releasing a statement announcing that Stuyven will not start Sunday’s stage 9.

“I didn’t stay clear of the crashes,” Stuyven said. “I was in the big one which Chaves was also in before the first big climb. I hit my wrist pretty bad, but I jumped on the bike again and climbed back.

“I suffered a lot on the first climb and then the second time I knew I had to start at the front so I could drift a little bit back if it was going to be hard.

“In the sprint, I felt, ‘I’ll go at 300 [meters from the finish],’ and it was for me today.”

Chaves finished safely in the bunch to hold onto his overall lead.

“It was truly difficult today,” Chaves said. “You’d think it was a transition stage, but it was very hard, fast, with a lot of crashes. I was caught up in the big crash, but it was a few cuts and scrapes, nothing serious, but I was able to chase back.

“The team carried me to the first climb, and then I was able to follow the rivals. I had some support on the first climb, on the second climb, I was trying to stay calm, and just follow the moves. The important thing was to maintain the lead.”

The Vuelta continues Sunday with a 168.3km stage 8 from Torrevieja to Benitatxell.

Stage 8 results

 

General classification

 

Points classification

 

Mountains classification

 

Teams classification