Vuelta a Espana: Gougeard wins in Avila

Alexis Gougeard (AG2R) took the biggest win of his young career, soloing in to win the 19th stage of the Vuelta a Espana in Avila. Nelson Oliveira (Lampre-Merida) took second place, 40 seconds down, with Maxime Monfort of Lotto-Soudal finishing third.

Tom Dumoulin extended his overall lead, attacking out of the small group of favourites on the steep cobble climb in the final kilometers. Fabio Aru followed but could not catch his rival, and in the end lost another three seconds. The Astana rider is now six seconds down in second place, with Joaquim Rodriguez third at 1:24.

The 22-year-old Gougeard, in only his second pro year, put his time trialing skills to work. He had been part of the large early break, which had a lead of up to 18 minutes. Near the end, as the group fell apart, with about 40km left on the day, Gougeard jumped to join the then solo leader, Tiago Machado (Katusha). The Portuguese rider soon weakened, and Gougeard stayed away, building his lead up from 20 to 40 seconds. Machado dropped back into a further chasing group and was fifth on the day.

The GC leaders put on a strong showing. Dumoulin’s Giant-Alpecin squad controlled things for most of the stage. Alejandro Valverde made a number of moves in the finale, including a threatening attack just before the final ascent through the ancient walled city, but it was Dumoulin, whose surprise attack over the cobbles put all of the contenders on the defensive.

Aru gave chase in the finale, seeing his chances slip away, but was unable to conquer the cobbled climb, and came in three seconds behind with Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R), with Valverde's group a further six seconds in arrears.

"We were able to control the stage the whole day and in the finale we had still Lawson [Craddock] and John [Degenkolb] with me in our 20 rider group," Dumoulin explained. "The guys were amazing today. I was feeling OK. Of course I was tired but I knew the other were tired, too. I just wanted to give it a try in the finale and took three seconds for the GC.

"I am satisfied, every additional second is good. There were some unexpected moves by Movistar. Up front, some people had doubts about the strength of the team but today we showed that we and ride very strongly. They did a perfect lead out on the final uphill section and I could finish it off.

"We have to look at ourselves, believe in our own strength and make a good plan for tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a decisive stage and a very tough one too."

How it unfolded

The whole stage was anything but flat, but there was only two ranked climbs along the 185 km between Medina del Campo and Avila. It had a sting in its tail, though, with a steep cobbled climb into the walled city at the end.

It was a day custom-made for a breakaway, and a huge group took advantage of that. 24 riders gained a gap of up to more than 15 minutes. The breakaway was made up of Gougeard, Christian Knees (Sky), Amael Moinard (BMC), David Arroyo, Ricardo Vilela (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis), Fabio Duarte, Leonardo Duque, Juan Pablo Valencia (Team Colombia), Maxime Bouet (Etixx-Quick Step), Mickael Delage (FDJ), Jerome Coppel (IAM Cycling), Nelson Oliveira (Lampre-Merida), Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal), Andrei Amador, Fran Ventoso (Movistar), Natnael Berhane (MTN-Qhubeka), Ben King (Cannondale-Garmin), Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar), Tiago Machado, Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Markel Irizar (Trek).

There was quite a scare when a crash after 72 km involved both race leader Tom Dumoulin and his closed rival Fabio Aru. While Dumoulin was apparently only caught up by the crash, Aru hit the pavement. He got back on his bike but made repeated trips to the race doctor’s car, but he appeared to be OK.

Giant-Alpecin rode at the head of the field, taking a brisk pace up the first of the day’s two climbs, the Valdavia at kilometer 105. Bouet led the breakaway over the climb, followed by Knees and Vilela.

With 44 kilometers to go, Machado jumped from the front group. The Portuguese rider knew the group would fall apart in the finale, and sought an early advantage. Markel Irizar gave it a try, but punctured as the group splintered and was unable to organize itself.

Machado’s lead shrank from 30 seconds and he was eventually joined by Gougeard and Leonardo Duque (Colombia), and he soon had to work hard to catch or stay with them. The reinforcements had helped build up the gap, which crept up towards 50 seconds at the intermediate sprint.

While the breakaway scrambled to get its act together, Giant-Shimano made a very relaxed impression at the head of the field. Astana clung tightly behind the German team, and both Movistar and Tinkoff-Saxo made their presence known as well.

Duque was unable to hold on to his two companions, leaving Gougeard and Machado alone in front. Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal) and Natnael Berhane (MTN-Qhubeka) were the next to set off in pursuit, soon catching Duque.

Machado struggled and with 22.5km to go, and Gougeard took off alone. Berhane fell back as well, Monfort was joined by Amael Moinard (BMC) and Andrey Amador (Movistar), who caught Machado. Meanwhile the gap to the peloton had soared to nearly 18 minutes.

As the field started up the final climb, Movistar moved to the head of the field and picked up the pace. Valverde finally made his move, but Tinkoff-Saxo sent some riders ahead to quickly pull him back.

Up front, the four chasers tried hard and could see Gougeard, but were unable to close the gap. Machado spent most of his time dangling off the back of the small group.

Valverde went again, with Tinkoff-Saxo and Astana now at the head of the greatly reduced group of favourites. After he was caught, Fabrice Jeandesboz (Europcar) took off. But Movistar didn’t give up and kept attacking.

With two kilometers to go, the impressive city walls of Avila came into view, and Gougeard started his way up the cobbled climb. He hit the final kilometer marker with a significant lead on his chasers. The 21-year-old Frenchman cruised in easily to take the win.

Nelson Oliveira (Lampre-Merida) had caught and passed the chasing group on the short cobbled section and took second place, 40 seconds down. Monfort won the sprint from his small group for third.

The favourites’ group was way back, and with 9km to go, Valverde went off once again, with Astana's Diego Rosa right behind him. The Spanish veteran soon dropped Rosa and had 10 seconds on the now rapidly moving group.

He stayed slightly away, but was caught on the cobble climb. Dumoulin moved to the front, dragging Daniel Moreno (Katusha) with him. Aru gave chase, but lost a further three seconds as he was unable to catch up.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale4:19:20
2Nelson Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida0:00:40
3Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:44
4Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 3 - Cell 2
5Tiago Machado (Por) Team KatushaRow 4 - Cell 2
6Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Fabio Duarte (Col) Colombia0:00:53
8David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:01:03
9Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky0:01:17
10Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Benjamin King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:01:30
12Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:45
13Natnael Berhane (Eri) MTN - QhubekaRow 12 - Cell 2
14Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 13 - Cell 2
15Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek Factory RacingRow 14 - Cell 2
16Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team Europcar0:01:54
17Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step0:01:58
18Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo0:02:08
19Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:02:11
20Leonardo Duque (Col) Colombia0:02:36
21Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.fr0:05:34
22Juan Pablo Valencia (Col) Colombia0:05:39
23Jerome Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling0:05:42
24Ricardo Vilela (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:05:56
25Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin0:16:18
26Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team KatushaRow 25 - Cell 2
27Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:16:21
28Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 27 - Cell 2
29Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:16:27
30Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 29 - Cell 2
31Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - QhubekaRow 30 - Cell 2
32Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team SkyRow 31 - Cell 2
33Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 32 - Cell 2
34Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar TeamRow 33 - Cell 2
35Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 34 - Cell 2
36Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team KatushaRow 35 - Cell 2
37Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdgeRow 36 - Cell 2
38Andre Cardoso (Por) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:16:46
39Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 38 - Cell 2
40Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:17:10
41Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:17:14
43Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory RacingRow 42 - Cell 2
44Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdgeRow 43 - Cell 2
45Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 44 - Cell 2
46Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team KatushaRow 45 - Cell 2
47Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step0:17:33
48Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 47 - Cell 2
49Romain Sicard (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 48 - Cell 2
50Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.frRow 49 - Cell 2
51Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Lampre-MeridaRow 50 - Cell 2
52John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin0:17:45
53Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:17:49
54Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 53 - Cell 2
55Ian Boswell (USA) Team Sky0:17:51
56Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo0:18:03
57Rodolfo Torres (Col) Colombia0:18:06
58Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 57 - Cell 2
59Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 59 - Cell 2
61Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 60 - Cell 2
62Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-MeridaRow 61 - Cell 2
63Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory RacingRow 62 - Cell 2
64Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:18:19
65Larry Warbasse (USA) IAM CyclingRow 64 - Cell 2
66Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar0:18:40
67Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky0:18:46
68Miguel Angel Rubiano (Col) ColombiaRow 67 - Cell 2
69Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step0:19:36
70Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek Factory Racing0:20:02
71Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 70 - Cell 2
72Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team0:20:14
73Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - QhubekaRow 72 - Cell 2
74Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 74 - Cell 2
76Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 75 - Cell 2
77Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar0:20:38
78Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Team Katusha0:21:30
79Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:22:31
80Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 79 - Cell 2
81Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 80 - Cell 2
82Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 81 - Cell 2
83Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 82 - Cell 2
84Ilia Koshevoy (Blr) Lampre-MeridaRow 83 - Cell 2
85Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Lampre-MeridaRow 84 - Cell 2
86Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 85 - Cell 2
87Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 86 - Cell 2
88Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 87 - Cell 2
89Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 88 - Cell 2
90Carlos Quintero (Col) ColombiaRow 89 - Cell 2
91Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar TeamRow 90 - Cell 2
92Alex Cano (Col) ColombiaRow 91 - Cell 2
93Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 92 - Cell 2
94Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 93 - Cell 2
95Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 94 - Cell 2
96Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 95 - Cell 2
97Johann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN - QhubekaRow 96 - Cell 2
98Angel Vicioso (Spa) Team KatushaRow 97 - Cell 2
99Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory Racing0:23:12
100Johan Van Summeren (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale0:23:34
101Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdgeRow 100 - Cell 2
102Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge0:23:41
103Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Team Katusha0:23:45
104Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team0:24:13
105Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:26:11
106Iljo Keisse (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 105 - Cell 2
107Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 106 - Cell 2
108Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN - QhubekaRow 107 - Cell 2
109Vicente Reynes (Spa) IAM CyclingRow 108 - Cell 2
110Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ.frRow 109 - Cell 2
111Martin Velits (Svk) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 110 - Cell 2
112Antoine Duchesne (Can) Team EuropcarRow 111 - Cell 2
113Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La MondialeRow 112 - Cell 2
114Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 113 - Cell 2
115Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory RacingRow 114 - Cell 2
116Carlos Barbero Cuesta (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 115 - Cell 2
117Simon Pellaud (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 116 - Cell 2
118Omar Fraile (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 117 - Cell 2
119Dominique Rollin (Can) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 118 - Cell 2
120Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 119 - Cell 2
121Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing TeamRow 120 - Cell 2
122Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 121 - Cell 2
123Damien Howson (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 122 - Cell 2
124Walter Pedraza (Col) ColombiaRow 123 - Cell 2
125Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Lampre-MeridaRow 124 - Cell 2
126Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 125 - Cell 2
127Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 126 - Cell 2
128Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 127 - Cell 2
129Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 128 - Cell 2
130Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ.frRow 129 - Cell 2
131Martijn Keizer (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 130 - Cell 2
132Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 131 - Cell 2
133Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 132 - Cell 2
134Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ.frRow 133 - Cell 2
135José Gonçalves (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 134 - Cell 2
136Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 135 - Cell 2
137Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN - QhubekaRow 136 - Cell 2
138Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory RacingRow 137 - Cell 2
139Yohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 138 - Cell 2
140Jaco Venter (RSA) MTN - QhubekaRow 139 - Cell 2
141Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team SkyRow 140 - Cell 2
142Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 141 - Cell 2
143Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 142 - Cell 2
144Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team SkyRow 143 - Cell 2
145Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 144 - Cell 2
146Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 145 - Cell 2
147Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 146 - Cell 2
148Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team SkyRow 147 - Cell 2
149Brayan Ramirez (Col) ColombiaRow 148 - Cell 2
150Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 149 - Cell 2
151Stephen Cummings (GBr) MTN - QhubekaRow 150 - Cell 2
152George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 151 - Cell 2
153Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 152 - Cell 2
154Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ.frRow 153 - Cell 2
155Tony Hurel (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 154 - Cell 2
156Jérôme Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar0:26:22
157Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 156 - Cell 2
158Songezo Jim (RSA) MTN - QhubekaRow 157 - Cell 2
159Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:28:14
DNSMaarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 159 - Cell 2
DNFArnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ.frRow 160 - Cell 2
DNFStéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 161 - Cell 2
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Intermediate sprint - El Barraco, km. 158
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale4pts
2Leonardo Duque (Col) Colombia2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Points
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale25pts
2Nelson Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida20Row 1 - Cell 3
3Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal16Row 2 - Cell 3
4Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team14Row 3 - Cell 3
5Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha12Row 4 - Cell 3
6Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team10Row 5 - Cell 3
7Fabio Duarte (Col) Colombia9Row 6 - Cell 3
8David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA8Row 7 - Cell 3
9Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky7Row 8 - Cell 3
10Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar Team6Row 9 - Cell 3
11Benjamin King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team5Row 10 - Cell 3
12Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal4Row 11 - Cell 3
13Natnael Berhane (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka3Row 12 - Cell 3
14Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team Katusha2Row 13 - Cell 3
15Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek Factory Racing1Row 14 - Cell 3
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Mountain 1 (Cat. 3) Alto de Valdavia, km. 105
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step3pts
2Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Ricardo Vilela (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Mountain 2 (Cat. 2) Alto La Paramera, km. 166.7
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale5pts
2Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Combativity
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
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Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Colombia13:07:08
2Movistar Team0:09:20
3Team Katusha0:09:39
4Lotto Soudal0:09:48
5Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:20:22
6AG2R La Mondiale0:25:02
7Team Sky0:26:27
8Team Europcar0:26:46
9Lampre-Merida0:27:11
10Tinkoff-Saxo0:27:30
11Trek Factory Racing0:27:57
12MTN - Qhubeka0:29:18
13Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:29:22
14Etixx - Quick-Step0:29:59
15IAM Cycling0:32:42
16Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:37:33
17FDJ.fr0:40:10
18Astana Pro Team0:41:09
19BMC Racing Team0:42:00
20Team Giant-Alpecin0:42:09
21Orica GreenEdge0:47:04
22Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:58:25
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General classification after stage 19
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin78:20:51
2Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:00:06
3Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha0:01:24
4Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo0:02:31
5Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team0:03:02
6Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:03:24
7Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge0:03:39
8Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha0:03:46
9Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky0:04:19
10Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka0:07:00
11Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:07:44
12Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step0:12:02
13Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Team Europcar0:13:24
14Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:13:47
15David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:14:49
16Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar0:19:21
17Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.fr0:19:36
18Andre Cardoso (Por) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:20:05
19Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:36:42
20Di