Basque sprinter Pablo Urtasun delivered victory his for Euskaltel-Euskadi team in Wednesday’s opener at the five-day Vuelta a Asturias in northern Spain.
Euskaltel worked hard to control the 156.3km run from Oviedo to Llanes along Spain’s spectacular verdant northern coast to set up the mass sprint.
Urtasun did not fail to deliver, out-kicking Angel Vicioso (Andalucía-CajaSur), with Joaquín Sobrino (Spanish national team) crossing the line third.
With time bonuses, Urtasun takes a six-second lead on Vicioso, winner of the GP Llodio last weekend. Sobrino slots into third at eight seconds back.
The 54th Asturian tour continues Thursday with the 139.1km second stage from Llanes to Gijón. A steep climb in the closing 25km could serve as a trampoline to victory for stage-hunters looking to surprise the sprinters.