“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.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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