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Vuelta a Burgos stage 1: Santiago Buitrago sails to victory in opening day broiler

The Bahrain Victorious climber pounced with just under 1km to go along the ramparts of the Burgos castle to fend off the peloton's top names.

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Santiago Buitrago proved his Giro d’Italia stage win in May was no fluke when he kicked to victory Tuesday to open the five-day Vuelta a Burgos.

The Bahrain Victorious climber pounced with just under 1km to go along the ramparts of the Burgos castle to fend off the peloton’s top names in the opening stage. Crossing the line second was Ruben Guerreiro (EF Education-EasyPost) and Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) was third in what was a hot, broiling day in northern Spain.

“I am very happy to have won the stage today at Burgos. It’s a stage that I like a lot,” Buitrago said. “Last year I was fourth and it’s a final that I really like. I wasn’t sure because I thought they were going to catch me in the final 300m, and it was only when I saw the finish line that I thought I could win.”

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Even without bonus seconds, the 22-year-old Buitrago carries a slender three-second lead to Guerreiro and the rest of the GC favorites. Giro d’Italia champion Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) was fourth on the same time, while Vincenzo Nibali (Astana-Qazaqstan) was fifth at 5 seconds adrift.

Stage 2 features three relatively easy climbs in what should be a day for the peloton’s fast finishers, though temperatures are expected to push near 100F in the afternoon Wednesday.

The Colombian, who was 12th overall at the Giro along with his first grand tour stage win, said he’s intent on holding the jersey through Saturday’s decisive finale at Lagunas de Neila.

“Let’s see if I can defend this jersey until Saturday, but there are four hard days ahead of us,” he said. “We started off on the right foot, so that’s a great start.”