“It was very close,” Piedra, one of the five riders that took off early on the hilly stage to Lago de Sanabria, said afterwards. “We were working well, we got a really good gap” – a maximum margin of 10-25 which only shrank notably in the last 20 kilometres.
“When we hit the rough roads with about 30 kilometres to go and it started to rain, I thought that would see the peloton sit up a bit with the conditions becoming more difficult.
“But instead they kept going and we had a really tough battle out there to stay away.”
Piedra and the four other breakaways did not surrender without a major struggle though, with the Spaniard caught around seven kilometres from the line, making for a 165 kilometre breakaway, and Arnaud Courteille (FdJ.fr) and Jurgen Van De Walle (Lotto-Belisol) sticking it out until three kilometres to the line.
Piedra clinched Caja Rural’s biggest victory of the team’s recent history last year when he took a hugely prestigious win on the Lagos De Covadonga stage for the Pro Continental squad.