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Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Orica-GreenEdge) took the overall lead in the Vuelta a España after winning stage 2 on Sunday.
Chaves out-kicked Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) for the win by a single second with Nicolas Roche (Sky) third at nine seconds as a host of favorites found themselves losing time on the first road stage.
“It is my first win in a three-week tour. It’s incredible,” Chaves told AFP. “I hope to hold onto the red jersey for as long as possible.”
The 158.7km stage from Alhaurin de la Torre to Caminito del Rey saw a early break containing Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida); Davide Villella (Cannondale-Garmin); Walter Pedraza (Colombia); Bert Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo); José Gonçalves (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA); and Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r La Mondiale). The escapees held to three minutes’ advantage for much of the day.
A huge crash either took down or stopped much of the peloton with around 30km to go. Among those who escaped the mess were Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). Among those who did not was Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), who was left to chase back on with the help of four teammates and the caravan.
Nibali was subsequently ejected from the race, along with sport director Alexandre Shefer, for holding onto his team car while trying to rejoin the favorites.
The break came apart en route to the line, with Gonçalves the last man standing.
Top 10, Stage 2
- 1. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio, Orica-GreenEdge, in 3:57:25
- 2. Tom Dumoulin, Giant-Alpecin, at 0:01
- 3. Nicolas Roche, Sky, at 0:09
- 4. Daniel Martin, Cannondale-Garmin, at 0:14
- 5. Joachim Rodriguez Oliver, Katusha, at 0:26
- 6. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas, Movistar, at 0:26
- 7. Christopher Froome, Sky, at 0:30
- 8. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte, Movistar, at 0:31
- 9. Daniel Moreno Fernandez, Katusha, at 0:31
- 10. Fabio Aru, Astana, at 0:37
Top 10, GC
- 1. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio, Orica-GreenEdge, in 3:57:15
- 2. Tom Dumoulin, Giant-Alpecin, in : 00′ 05”
- 3. Nicolas Roche, Sky, at 0:15
- 4. Daniel Martin, Cannondale-Garmin, at 0:24
- 5. Joachim Rodriguez Oliver, Katusha, at 0:36
- 6. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas, Movistar, at 0:36
- 7. Christopher Foome, Sky, at 0:40
- 8. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte, Movistar, at 0:41
- 9. Daniel Moreno Fernandez, Katusha, at 0:41
- 10. Fabio Aru, Astana, at 0:47
Cyril Gautier (Europcar) was first to light it up on the final climb, followed by Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Dumoulin and Roche.
But it was Chaves who shot past them all to take the win from Dumoulin with Roche third.
The victory gave Chaves the leader’s jersey by five seconds over Dumoulin with Roche third at 15 seconds.
“I felt this was my moment to do it for the team,” said Chaves. “In the end, I did it, and I won the jersey. The main thing we needed to do was attack these guys, so that’s what we did.”
Said Dumoulin: “I wanted to give it a try. Unfortunately, Chaves was stronger. I had one chance and that was to stay on his wheel. He still had something left in the sprint.”
As for Quintana, he said the heat was too much for him and added that he was glad to see a Colombian win the day.
“I tried to go from far out. It was a climb for explosive riders, I tried but the heat affected me,” said Quintana. “I saw that Chaves was stronger than those of us in the breakaway. He is a very smart rider and I am happy that one of my compatriots won.”
IAM Cycling lost two riders to crashes on the stage, Matteo Pelucchi and David Tanner.