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Benítez sprints to leadership

Benítez on the podium

Benítez on the podium (Image credit: Monika Prell)

By Monika Prell in Camargo

Benfica's Javier Benítez won the first stage of the Vuelta a Chihuahua and received the leader's jersey from the hands of the chief organiser, Ricardo Creel Ryan. Benítez won the mass sprint ahead of Steffen Radochla (Elk Haus), with third going to Juan Pablo Magallanes (Tecos Trek). The stage, over 147.8 kilometres from the capital Chihuahua to Camargo, was marked by various breakaways. The last one was chased down five kilometres before the finish line.

A happy Javier Benítez said. "It was a very fast, nervous stage. I am lucky to have a magnificent team, they did a super job, but I don't know if I will be able to defend the yellow jersey."

Benítez was impressed with the third edition of the race, in which he himself participated for the first time. "I also have to praise the organisation, this race is perfectly organised, with a lot of security measures and an enthusiastic public. It's the first time I've raced here, but I already want to come back again."

The race was marked by the comeback of 44-year-old Raúl Alcalá. The Mexican finished the race in 52nd place. Alcalá won the young rider competition in 1985 in the Tour de France and finished 11th in the 1984 Olympic road race in Los Angeles.

Full results, report and photos are available. .

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