Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers) continued his breakthrough season with a first national title, soloing to victory at the Spanish championship road race on Sunday.
The 21-year-old, who won a stage of the Tour of the Basque Country as well as a number of stage racing top-fives, was a cut above the rest on the hilly Mallorca circuit.
He crossed the line 51 seconds ahead of anyone else, with Jesús Herrada getting the better of Alex Aranburu in a two-up sprint for second place.
There was more than a minute back to the next finisher, with Ayuso leading home a six-man group at 2:04.
After a flat start, the 186km race came down to four laps of a 21km circuit that reached 2,500 metres of elevation gain thanks to the repeat climbs up the 6km Col de Sa Creu.
On the penultimate ascent, Rodríguez, after responding to attacks with apparent ease, forced the pace and split the group down to six. When they came around for the final ascent, he hit the pedals again and went clear, never to be seen again.
He dived down the descent and held his advantage to give himself time to celebrate in the home straight, earning the right to wear the Spanish champion's jersey in his expected Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España later this year.
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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.
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