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The highly touted Juan Ayuso won his first pro race at the Circuito de Getxo in northern Spain over the weekend.
The UAE Team Emirates rider sped to victory out of a group of four riders in an uphill kicker into Getxo.
“I am very happy and almost I can’t believe it,” Ayuso, 19, said. “I thank the team that helped me and trusted me.”
Andrea Piccolo (Drone Hopper -Androni) and Wilco Keldermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) rounded out the podium.
George Bennett, back from a COVID infection, also confirmed he’s still on top form with eighth place from the chasing group.
The win marks the 36th triumph of the season for the Emirati squad, and the first for the promising Ayuso.
“On the penultimate climb I got a puncture and couldn’t chase the two escapees, but, as soon as I could, I bridged the gap. I wanted this victory,” he said. “In the final I gave everything and I finally managed to get this first victory as a professional. I couldn’t be happier.”
Many view Ayuso as a potential grand tour rider, but he won’t be racing a grand tour in his first full season in the WorldTour. Ayuso is scheduled to race the Vuelta a Burgos this week, and then the Canadian one-day races next month.
Earlier this season, he was fifth at the Volta a Catalunya and fourth at the Tour de Romandie. In June, illness forced him to abandon the Critérium du Dauphiné when he was eighth overall going into the final weekend.