Theo Bos (Cervélo) sprinted to his second consecutive victory in Thursday’s longest stage at the Vuelta a Castilla y León in northern Spain.
The top-two didn’t change from yesterday’s opener, with Bos out-kicking Graeme Brown (Rabobank) to claim the 209.9km second stage from Burgos to Carrión de los Condes. Oscar Grau (Burgos 2016) came across the line third to round out the podium.
Four riders peeled off early in the stage, including Iban Mayoz (Footon-Servetto), who was hunting King of the Mountains points to defend his climber’s jersey. The gap quickly grew to seven minutes at 50km before Cervélo massed at the front to limit the damage to keep the options open for another bunch sprint.
“Our goal today for the team was the same as yesterday – to bring Theo successfully to the sprint,” said Cervélo director Alex Sans Vega. “The stage, though the longest of this race was not so hard. There were no big climbs on it and like yesterday the wind (was) the main player of the day.”
Astana moved forward to help reel in the breakaway when heavy winds caused splits in the peloton with 20km to go. Rabobank and Astana drilled the pace at the front, trying to catch such rivals as Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo-Galicia) and Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) by surprise.
Despite the nerves, the top GC contenders regained contact with the lead bunch, but the pack would never entirely regroup before the final sprint.
With no time bonuses in play, the GC remains knotted up, with Bos holding Cervélo’s first leader’s jersey in a stage race in the 2010 season for the second consecutive day.
“I felt much better today than yesterday,” said Bos. “But it was quite hard, especially the final that was pretty heavy. It was a long, long stage today.”
Time gaps are sure to open up in Friday’s summit stage ending atop the Cat. 1 Morredero stage. The route also tackles the demanding Cat. 1 Alto de Foncabadón, which features a high-speed descent into Ponferrada before the final assault up to the finish line.