Skip to main content

Live coverage

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2018: Stage 2

Refresh

90km remaining from 140km

As we pick up the action, a group of nine riders has a lead of 7 minutes over the peloton on stage 2 of the Ruta del Sol. The men in the break are: Alvaro Cuadros (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Delko-Marselle Provence KTM), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale), Pascal Eenkhoorn (LottoNL-Jumbo)
Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH), Aaron Verwilst (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Sho Hatsuyama (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Jeroen Meijers (Roompot) and Enrique Sanz (Euskadi-Murias).

The escapees forged clear inside the opening 20 kilometres and had a lead of 4:15 in hand by the time they hit kilometre 32 as the pace in the peloton slackened off considerably. Cuadros led the break over the top of the day's first climb, the Puerto Lope (category 2), and their buffer has since extended to 7 minutes.

 

There are four more climbs to come. The Alto del Castillo (category 3), the Puerto de Locubín (category 2), the Puerto de Valdepeñas (category 3) follow in rapid succession, before a lumpy run-in to Jaen, and the tough category 1 climb to the line on the Alto de las Allandas.

 

After testing how well he could hit his public relations talking points before yesterday’s stage – his first race since news of his adverse analytical finding for salbutamol broke in December – Chris Froome (Team Sky) will face a robust test of his physical condition on the final climb today. Froome beat Alberto Contador to the summit of the Alto de la Allanadas three years ago at the Ruta del Sol.

 

“Obviously, this is my first race of the season. Yesterday didn’t feel too good to be honest so we’ll see how it goes on the road today, make that call for the final during the stage, whether I go for the stage win myself or I get behind one of my teammates. Wout [Poels] is in great shape at the moment, he could be up there, or [David] De La Cruz or [Philip] Deignan,” Froome said at today's start in Otura.

“It’s hard not to be distracted by everything that’s going on but the bike racing is the part I enjoy so it’s quite easy to stay focused on that.

“This last climb is not long, just over ten minutes, but some very steep gradients. A great test to see exactly where I am, those kinds of gradients don’t lie. Personally I feel as if I’ve got a lot of work to do, but let’s see how today pans out.”

 

75km remaining from 140km

The escapees have come through the intermediate sprint at Alcala la Real with a lead of some 7:20 over the peloton.

 

Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie) wears the leader's red jersey this afternoon thanks to his victory on stage 1. The Frenchman came very, very late to upset Sacha Modolo (Education First-Drapac), who celebrated on crossing the line only to realise he had been pipped by Boudat.

 

The top of the general classification is as follows after stage 1:

 

1 Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie 5:21:39
2 Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
3 Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
4 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
5 Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6 Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar Team
7 Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
8 Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal
9 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL-Jumbo
10 Jan Tratnik (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice

 

66km remaining from 140km

Astana and Team Sky are controlling affairs at the head of the peloton, but with no particular urgency as yet. The break's lead has dropped slightly and now stands at 6:50.

 

Froome's presence at the Ruta del Sol against the backdrop of his positive test for salbutamol has inevitably dominated the headlines this week, but there is racing on three fronts at the moment. Dylan Groenewegen won stage 1 of the Volta ao Algarve yesterday, while Greg Van Avermaet claimed victory on stage 3 of the Tour of Oman this morning. You can read a report here, while our woman in the Gulf Sadhbh O'Shea has Van Avermaet's thoughts on his first win of 2018 here

 

63km remaining from 140km

At the Ruta del Sol, meanwhile, Alvaro Cuadros (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) has led the break over the Alto del Castillo, the second climb of the day.

 

Astana have increased their intensity at the head of the peloton, and the break's lead has dropped accordingly. The gap now stands at 5 minutes.

 

42km remaining from 140km

The escapees are on the upper slopes of the Puerto de Valdepenas, the day's penultimate climb. Astana continue to set the tempo in the peloton, and the break's lead is narrowing still further and now hovers above four minutes.

 

39km remaining from 140km

Cuadros leads the break over Valdepenas with a lead of 4 minutes on the Astana-led peloton.

 

Both Cuadros and Kasperkiewicz have been beset by mechanical problems on the descent of the Valdepenas, and the break is beginning to fragment as the speed ratchets upwards.

 

Gougeard, Eenkhoorn and Rubio are pressing on at the head of this break, and they look to be distancing their companions. Astana continue to pile on the pressure in the peloton.

 

37km remaining from 140km

Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale), Pascal Eenkhoorn (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) have 3:25 in hand on the peloton, where Astana are setting a very brisk tempo indeed.

 

33km remaining from 140km

Michael Valgren put in a mammoth shift at the head of the peloton yesterday and the Dane has resumed the same task this afternoon. He leads the way for Astana, who have both Jakob Fuglsang and Luis Leon Sanchez in their ranks here.

 

Up front, Gougeard is doing the bulk of the pressing at the head of the break on this descent, while Eenkhoorn sits a few lengths off the back of Rubio's wheel through the series of twists and turns. There is a short uncategorised ascent to La Guardia de Jaen to follow, ahead of the 5.5km haul to the summit of the Alto de las Allanadas.

 

28km remaining from 140km

Rubio and Gougeard lead the way on this descent, and Eenkhoorn is now riding far tighter to their rear wheels. 3:15 the gap to the peloton.

 

26km remaining from 140km

As the road begins to level out, Eenkhoorn hits the front and puts his shoulder to the wheel in this three-man break.

 

24km remaining from 140km

Eenkhoorn's teammate Steven Kruijswijk is among those who will expect to shine on this final kick to the line. For the time being, however, this leading trio maintains an advantage of 3:15 over the bunch.

 

23km remaining from 140km

Rubio, Gougeard and Eenkhoorn tackle a short uphill section with a lead of 3:07 over the peloton. Sergei Chernetckii drills on the front of the bunch for Astana, as they pick up the riders who were dropped from the day's early escape.

 

22km remaining from 140km

The break's lead drops inside three minutes as Astana continue to chase. Mikel Landa and his Movistar teammates are also tucked in near the head of the bunch.

 

19km remaining from 140km

Rubio, Gougeard and Eenkhoorn remain fully committed to their effort on the front, as they hurtle down the descent that precedes the short, unclassified kick to Jaen. 2:50 the gap.

 

15km remaining from 140km

The three leaders have done well to maintain so much of their advantage since the top of the Valdepenas. They face into the kick towards Jaen with a lead of 2:30.

 

12km remaining from 140km

Landa remains well placed towards the head of the peloton as the intensity level continues to rise on the approach to the finish.

 

11km remaining from 140km

Gougeard, Rubio and Eenkhoorn are on the unclassified drag towards La Guardia de Jaen, which comes 7km from the line. There follows the shortest of descents before the vicious final kick towards the finish line.

 

10km remaining from 140km

Astana still ride at the head of the peloton, with delegations from Movistar, Team Sky and LottoNL-Jumbo positioned just behind them. 2:14 the gap to the three leaders.

 

As expected, we will have a new race leader this evening. Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie) is unceremoniously dumped out the rear of the peloton as Astana continue to pile on the pressure.

 

9km remaining from 140km

Rubio, Gougeard and Eenkhoorn are still swapping turns on the front on the drag to Guardia de Jane, with a lead of 2:00 on the peloton.

 

8km remaining from 140km

And then there were two. Eenkhoorn has been distanced by Gougeard and Rubio on the haul towards Jaen.

 

8km remaining from 140km

Despite their stout efforts, Gougeard and Rubio's lead has dropped still further, and now stands at 1:36.

 

7km remaining from 140km

Gougeard and Rubio are on the plateau at Jaen. After a short drop, they will begin the final climb to the line. 1:30 the gap.

 

6km remaining from 140km

Gougeard and Rubio have combined well, and will start the final climb with a lead north of a minute, though that will surely not be enough to hold off the cavalry behind.

 

5km remaining from 140km

Rubio and Gougeard hit the lower slopes of the Alto de las Allanadas with a lead of 1:14 over the peloton, which is still being propelled by Astana.

 

Rubio climbs out of the saddle as the gradient stiffens to 17%, and he is inching away from Gougeard...

 

Gougeard refuses to give in, but he will struggle to close this gap to Rubio, who is beginning to disappear out of sight.

 

4km remaining from 140km

Movistar take up the reins at the head of the peloton, and their deficit to Rubio closes to 49 seconds.

 

3km remaining from 140km

The bunch has been whittled down considerably on the lower slopes of this climb. Rubio ploughs a lone furrow in front, with a lead of 50 seconds over the reduced peloton.

 

3km remaining from 140km

Rubio hits the narrower road and steeper gradient on the upper ramps of the climb. The Spaniard hauls himself out the saddle to battle the gradient.

 

2km remaining from 140km

Astana and Movistar have bodies towards the head of the peloton. Jakob Fuglsang has accelerated and opened a small gap.

 

Philip Deignan (Sky) is also present towards the head of the peloton representing the interests of Chris Froome.

 

2km remaining from 140km

Fuglsang extends his advantage over the peloton and chases down Rubio. Deignan leads the peloton, with Landa, Poels, Kruijswijk and Dombrowski also towards the front. 

 

2km remaining from 140km

Mikel Landa bridges across to Fuglsang with Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) on his wheel. Wout Poels gives chase.

 

2km remaining from 140km

Rubio is alone in front, 12 seconds ahead of Landa, Wellens, Fuglsang and Poels. Froome is in the reduced peloton a little further behind.

 

1km remaining from 140km

Rubio is caught by Fuglsang, Wellens, Poels and Landa, who have been joined by Luis Leon Sanchez. The reduced peloton is fragmenting just behind them.

 

1km remaining from 140km

There are nine riders at the head of the race, Landa, Poels, Wellens, Jelle Vanendert, Marc Soler, Kruijswijk, Luis Leon Sanchez and Fuglsang among them. Froome is not in this group.

 

1km remaining from 140km

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) accelerates from the front group and opens a small gap.

 

1km remaining from 140km

Fuglsang and Luis Leon Sanchez lead the pursuit of Wellens in this elite chasing group. Froome looks to be edging his way back up to the chasers.

 

1km remaining from 140km

Into the final kilometre for Wellens, who has a decent gap over the chasers. He is betraying real signs of suffering, but is still turning his gear over well.

 

Luis Leon Sanchez and Fuglsang lead the chase group, which contains Chris Froome.

 

The Astana tandem's efforts are helping the chasers to claw back ground on Wellens, but only in very minor increments for the time being.

 

Wellens looks over his shoulder and sees he has a lead of 80 metres or so. He presses on gamely.

 

Wout Poels accelerates viciously from the chasing group and begins to zoom across the gap to Wellens. Sanchez gives chase.

 

Poels and Sanchez catch Wellens, but Landa and Fuglsang bridge across almost immediately. This quintet should fight it out for the win...

 

Poels kicks once again and opens a lead of 20 metres on the rest.

 

Poels looks to have a winning gap but Sanchez gives desperate chase...

 

Wout Poels (Team Sky) wins stage 2 of the Ruta del Sol.

 

Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) was second across the line ahead of Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal).

 

Mikel Landa (Movistgar) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) were next, followed by Marc Soler (Movistar).

 

Chris Froome (Team Sky) was never in contention for the win, and he came home in 7th place, 27 seconds down on his teammate Poels.

 

 

Result:

 

1 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 3:38:04
2 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:02
3 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:04
5 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
6 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:17
7 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:27
8 Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias 0:00:34
9 Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 0:00:38
10 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
 

 

General classification after stage 2:

        

1 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 8:59:43
2 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:02
3 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:04
5 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
6 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:17
7 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:27
8 Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias 0:00:34
9 Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 0:00:38
10 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal

 

 

There are 30 kilometres or so remaining in the Volta ao Algarve, and Susan Westemeyer has updates on all the action here.

 

You can read a report of today's Ruta del Sol stage here. Full results and pictures will follow in due course.

 

Speaking after the stage, Chris Froome (Team Sky) said that he realised early on that he would not be in contention for the win this afternoon. “I called it pretty early, I told the team I wasn’t feeling at my absolute best, and I said to the guys ‘let’s put everything behind Wout and give it everything we’ve got,'" Froome said at the finish. Alasdair Fotheringham will have the full story shortly on Cyclingnews.

 

 

Team Sky have scored a second win on the Iberian Peninsula this afternoon. Michal Kwiatkowski has won stage 2 of the Volta ao Algarve, while Sky's Geraint Thomas has moved into the overall lead. Read the report here.

 

A reminder of today's result on stage of the Ruta del Sol:

 

 

1 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 3:38:04
2 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:02
3 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:04
5 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
6 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:17
7 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:27
8 Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias 0:00:34
9 Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 0:00:38
10 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal

 

General classification after stage 2:

 

1 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 8:59:43
2 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:02
3 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:04
5 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
6 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:17
7 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:27
8 Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias 0:00:34
9 Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 0:00:38
10 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal

 

Thanks for joining our live coverage of the Ruta del Sol on Cyclingnews this afternoon. We'll be back with more tomorrow. In the meantime, you'll find a full reports, results and pictures here, and Alasdair Fotheringham will have all the news and reaction from Andalusia.

 

 

Latest on Cyclingnews