A day after finishing 53:54 minutes down on Vuelta a Espana stage winner Gianluca Brambilla yesterday, BMC Racing's Jempy Drucker broke though for his first career grand tour stage win in Peñíscola. The victory is BMC's first in the three grand tours this season and second of the year for Drucker after his Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg Prologue victory.
The 30-year-old praised the work of teammate Danilo Wyss in the finale to position him and ensure the Luxembourger only had the minimum to do before opening up his sprint.
"The last 10km, with all of the roundabouts and entering cities, was pretty hectic but I had Danilo Wyss who did a great job in keeping me out of trouble," said Drucker who was one of the 93 riders re-admitted to Vuelta a Espana after missing time limit on stage 15. "The final kilometer we had a tail wind so it's good to go a bit early. I was placing myself a little bit behind to be able to go from behind with speed. It was actually perfect as Gianni Meersman went and I could come in his slipstream and then went over him."
Despite having an easy ride on stage 15, Drucker explained that he has found the going tough in his second Vuelta after debuting at last year's race and was still coming to terms with the biggest win of his career.
"I suffered a lot in the last few days, especially the day on Col d'Aubisque, and I always kept believing in the sprint stages," added Drucker after winning Luxembourg's fifth stage of the Vuelta. "I did a good Vuelta a Burgos and I was confident in my sprints, and was taking my chances. It was all about choosing the good wheels and I had Danilo Wyss who did a perfect job until almost the last kilometer. I was just hoping and hoping to get the good opening and then I started my sprint and it was perfect. It's cool to have a victory in a Grand Tour and it's always nice behind your name."
While having added the win to his palmares, Drucker won't be resting on his laurels for the remaining stages left in the race as he explained.
"Now we have a rest day and directly the day after it's a hard stage and there is still the time trial, and Saturday's stage on the Aitana so I think the Vuelta a Espana is far from over. I think we're going to still see some action," he added.
For directeur sportif Valerio Piva, the stage win is cherry on top of the cake for BMC following on from the stint in red with Darwin Atapuma and Samuel Sanchez's GC performance
"For us it was already perfect. We are leading the team classification, we have Samuel Sanchez in a good position in GC and we had Darwin Atapuma in the red jersey for four days," Piva said. "But of course we wanted to win a stage because the day that you win you are the best, and today we had this. For me this is what we deserve as every day the riders have been trying."
An emerging theme of the 2016 Vuelta has been riders breaking through for their debut grand tour stage wins with Drucker joining Gianni Meersman, Lilian Calmejane, Simon Yates, Jonas van Genechten, Sergey Lagutin, David de la Cruz, Jens Keukeleire, Valerio Conti and Robert Gesink before him. By way of comparison, Jarlinson Pantano was the only rider to win a maiden grand tour stage at the Tour de France.
With five stages to come, there could be even more names added to the list of breakthrough winners including several other candidates from the BMC squad.