Vuelta a España: Bouhanni wins stage 8 in Albacete sprinter Nacer Bouhanni bagged his second stage win at the Vuelta when he just managed to hold off Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) by a wheel in the bunch sprint in Albacete. Both riders finished well clear of Peter Sagan (Cannondale), who showed his form is coming as he nipped around points leader John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) to take third.

Speaking after his victory, Bouhanni confessed he had been close to abandoning after getting sunstroke on yesterday’s stage. But the Frenchman was always close to the front of the bunch as crosswinds produced some frantic racing over the concluding 25 kilometres.

With 10km left, the lead group contained 60-odd riders. When Tinkoff-Saxo, Omega Pharma-QuickStep and BMC ramped up the pace on the front, this group split in half, with Degenkolb and Giant’s GC leader Warren Barguil among those caught out. Second-placed Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Astana’s Fabio Aru and Garmin-Sharp’s Dan Martin were also in this second group.

The gap between these two groups went out to 15 seconds, but was closed down with 5km to go by Giant. Degenkolb committed himself to the chase in order to defend Barguil’s GC position, and this undoubtedly impacted on his chances in the sprint.

Giant were quickly back in their accustomed position on the front of the line as this group sped into Albacete. But that pursuit had cost them vital reserves. As they wilted, Omega Pharma led into the final 800-metre straight with the goal of setting up Tom Boonen. But the Belgian and everyone else was caught out when Bouhanni accelerated clear with 300 metres to the line.

The Frenchman opened up a gap of two bike lengths on Matthews, who closed right up on Bouhanni but ran out of room before the finish, where Bouhanni lurched to the left and towards the Australian. There was, however, no complaint from the Orica man.

“Everyone expected crosswinds today and that meant everyone wanted to be at the front,” said Bouhanni. “I stayed with Geoffroy Soupe in the final kilometres, but I was quite a way back down the line coming up the straight.

“I started my sprint from 300 metres out despite the headwind because I didn't want to get boxed in. Usually, that’s too far out for me but I had good legs today,” added Bouhanni, who revealed: “Yesterday I wasn’t far off abandoning because I had a bit of sunstroke.”

Despite all of the drama in the crosswind, the GC favourites all finished close behind the sprinters, with Alejandro Valverde still in the leader’s red jersey going into tomorrow’s summit finish at Valdelinares.

How it unfolded

After rolling out of Baeza, the break formed almost as soon as the race was deneutralised, Elia Favilli (Lampre-Merida) and Francisco Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) clipping away. The Italian and Spaniard opened a lead of 7-14 on the peloton after 30km, but there was to be no repeat of yesterday’s success for the escapees.

Their advantage was held at around seven minutes until and Giant-Shimano moved to the front of the peloton and began to trim it back. Halfway into the stage, Favilli and Aramendia’s lead dropped below five minutes and it continued to dwindle rapidly.

With just two riders in the break, there was a bonus second on offer to the first rider from the peloton to cross the line at the two intermediate sprints. The first of these went to points leader Degenkolb.

The second produced an interesting little contest between Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo, who were each keeping close tabs on the other’s leader. After Alberto Contador had shaped to sprint, Sky were quick to respond. That left Contador’s “lead-out man” Sergio Paulinho as the unlikely winner of the bonus second.

This flurry of action was the prelude to the battle between the big teams when the wind began to gust heading towards Albacete. The bunch’s increase in pace approaching this dangerous zone spelled the end for Favilli and Aramendia’s hopes. They were swept up with 40km to go.

Soon after, Sky jumped to the front of the bunch, clearly determined to prevent Froome being caught out as the wind started to blow from the right. Echelons formed behind the lead group, where Belkin, Trek and Tinkoff added their weight to the pace-setting.

Initially, none of the GC favourites was caught out, but the acceleration produced by Classics specialists Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen cut the numbers up front to little more than a quarter of the field. That left the sprinters’ teams low on numbers and helped to set up the thrilling finale contested by all of the best sprinters in the race.


Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr4:29:00
2Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 1 - Cell 2
3Peter Sagan (Svk) CannondaleRow 2 - Cell 2
4John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 3 - Cell 2
5Gregory Henderson (NZl) Lotto BelisolRow 4 - Cell 2
6Robert Wagner (Ger) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - QhubekaRow 6 - Cell 2
8Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 7 - Cell 2
9Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory RacingRow 9 - Cell 2
11Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 11 - Cell 2
13Damiano Caruso (Ita) CannondaleRow 12 - Cell 2
14Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 13 - Cell 2
15Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ.frRow 14 - Cell 2
16Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN - QhubekaRow 15 - Cell 2
17Christopher Froome (GBr) Team SkyRow 16 - Cell 2
18Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team KatushaRow 17 - Cell 2
19Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC Racing TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Rigoberto Urán (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 22 - Cell 2
24Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 23 - Cell 2
25Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 24 - Cell 2
26Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 25 - Cell 2
27Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 27 - Cell 2
29Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 29 - Cell 2
31Koen de Kort (Ned) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 30 - Cell 2
32Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica GreenEdgeRow 31 - Cell 2
33Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 32 - Cell 2
34Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Team KatushaRow 33 - Cell 2
35Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team KatushaRow 34 - Cell 2
36Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team SkyRow 35 - Cell 2
37Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin SharpRow 36 - Cell 2
38Andre Fernando S Martins Cardoso (Por) Garmin SharpRow 37 - Cell 2
39Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team SkyRow 38 - Cell 2
40Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory RacingRow 40 - Cell 2
42Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing TeamRow 41 - Cell 2
43Guillaume Boivin (Can) CannondaleRow 42 - Cell 2
44Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 43 - Cell 2
45Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 44 - Cell 2
46Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 45 - Cell 2
47Philip Deignan (Irl) Team SkyRow 46 - Cell 2
48Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 47 - Cell 2
49Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 48 - Cell 2
50Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
51Dario Cataldo (Ita) Team SkyRow 50 - Cell 2
52Andrey Amador Bikkazakova (Crc) Movistar TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 52 - Cell 2
54Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 53 - Cell 2
55Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:10
56Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre-Merida0:00:13
57Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team SkyRow 56 - Cell 2
58Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Giant-Shimano0:00:16
59Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenEdge0:00:18
60Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky0:00:20
61Vegard Breen (Nor) Lotto BelisolRow 60 - Cell 2
62Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:00:53
63Patrick Gretsch (Ger) AG2R La MondialeRow 62 - Cell 2
64Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 63 - Cell 2
65Natnael Berhane (Eri) Team EuropcarRow 64 - Cell 2
66Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 65 - Cell 2
67Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 66 - Cell 2
68Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 67 - Cell 2
69Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN - QhubekaRow 68 - Cell 2
70David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 69 - Cell 2
71Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R La MondialeRow 70 - Cell 2
72Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin SharpRow 71 - Cell 2
73Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 72 - Cell 2
74Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team KatushaRow 73 - Cell 2
75Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 74 - Cell 2
76Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 75 - Cell 2
77Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Trek Factory RacingRow 76 - Cell 2
78Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 77 - Cell 2
79Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 78 - Cell 2
80Matthias Krizek (Aut) CannondaleRow 79 - Cell 2
81Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 80 - Cell 2
82Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek Factory RacingRow 81 - Cell 2
83Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 82 - Cell 2
84Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 83 - Cell 2
85Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM CyclingRow 84 - Cell 2
86Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM CyclingRow 85 - Cell 2
87Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 86 - Cell 2
88Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 87 - Cell 2
89Koldo Fernandez De Larrea (Spa) Garmin SharpRow 88 - Cell 2
90Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN - QhubekaRow 89 - Cell 2
91Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 90 - Cell 2
92Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.frRow 91 - Cell 2
93Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro TeamRow 92 - Cell 2
94Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto BelisolRow 93 - Cell 2
95Oscar Gatto (Ita) CannondaleRow 94 - Cell 2
96Vincent Jérôme (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 95 - Cell 2
97Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre-MeridaRow 96 - Cell 2
98Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team KatushaRow 97 - Cell 2
99Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 99 - Cell 2
101Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin SharpRow 101 - Cell 2
103Maciej Bodnar (Pol) CannondaleRow 102 - Cell 2
104Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-MeridaRow 103 - Cell 2
105Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 104 - Cell 2
106Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 105 - Cell 2
107Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 106 - Cell 2
108José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:08
109Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 108 - Cell 2
110Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ.frRow 109 - Cell 2
111Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 110 - Cell 2
112Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 111 - Cell 2
113Dmitry Kozontchouk (Rus) Team KatushaRow 112 - Cell 2
114Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory RacingRow 113 - Cell 2
115Luke Rowe (GBr) Team SkyRow 114 - Cell 2
116Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:01:13
117Dan Craven (Nam) Team EuropcarRow 116 - Cell 2
118Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 117 - Cell 2
119Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo0:01:16
120Yannick Martinez (Fra) Team Europcar0:01:26
121Jacobus Venter (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka0:01:52
122Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 121 - Cell 2
123Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing0:01:55
124Karol Domagalski (Pol) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 123 - Cell 2
125Stef Clement (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:02:23
126Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 125 - Cell 2
127Martijn Keizer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 126 - Cell 2
128Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 127 - Cell 2