Vuelta a España: Stuyven wins stage 8

Jasper Stuyven (Trek Factory Racing) came out on top in a dramatic sprint on stage 8 of the Vuelta a Espana, winning ahead of Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural) and Kevin Reza (FDJ.com).

“I always aim high and sometimes aiming high can give you only disappointment," Stuyven said. "After having so much bad luck this year it is finally nice to be able to do something with the good legs and it’s really nice to take the first victory in a WorldTour race. I am really, really happy. The team did well to pull everything back and even after the crash I kept fighting, kept fighting...Yeah. It pays off.”

Stuyven suffered to get over the pair of climbs that jettisoned a number of sprinters in the final 50km, and avoided a big crash leading to the climbs.

“We knew it was going to be really hard today,” Stuyven said. “We were well-placed together with the team and then there was the big crash and we had a few of us go down. I was also in the crash, and I hit my wrists pretty bad, they were hurting a lot, but I said to the guys I am gonna try.

“I suffered a lot the first time up the climb, and I was afraid that I would not make it a second time, but Dirk [Demol] was there to say to keep fighting, keep fighting. And I was in a good position at the bottom so I could drift a little bit back on the climb; I think I was one of the last guys to make it over with the front group."

The stage, which looked fairly docile on paper, came to life after a huge crash that saw Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), Dan Martin (Cannondale Garmin) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) all forced out through injury. Esteban Chaves was caught up by the fall but survived the mayhem and the finishing two climbs to retain his overall race lead.

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Saxo) also made it through the major crash and the final two climbs near the finish and was a favourite to take his second stage of the race. However a crash with a neutral service vehicle in the final 10 kilometres robbed the Tinkoff rider of a chance to contest the win. With the majority of the top sprinters already dropped or on the deck Stuyven came through to take the biggest win of his career.

The Belgian timed his sprint well, coming through in the final 100 meters, but the stage will be remembered for the flurry of crashes that took place in the final 50 kilometres or racing.

The first incident occurred with 48km to go as the peloton headed towards the first of two final third category climbs. Dan Martin, Tejay van Garderen, Nacer Bouhanni and Kris Boeckmans were among the fallers, the latter taken immediately to hospital after he appeared motionless on the ground for several minutes. Van Garderen appeared to break a collarbone while Bouhanni briefly remounted before falling once more and then throwing in the towel.

By the time the early break hit the foot of the first climb their advantage, which had peaked at 4:46 was down to less than two minutes. Iljo Keisse (Etixx-Quick Step), Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar), Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin), Tom Van Asbroeck (LottoNL-Jumbo), Mattia Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida) and Ángel Madrazo (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) had forced their way clear after 35 kilometres and it was Howes who pressed on alone, unaware of the bad luck that had taken out his teammate, Dan Martin.

More misfortune was to follow for the American team with Howes falling on the first descent. He was passed by Madrazo, and then the peloton with the remnants of the break already caught.

A brief lull in the action allowed for several groups, one including the race leader Chaves, to return to the peloton but the race kicked into life on the second ascent.

Nikki Terpstra attacked from the peloton but he was passed by his teammate Gianluca Brambilla, with no one single team able to truly control proceedings. Tom Dumoulin, who started the day second overall, moved to the front of the bunch, eager to nullify the purer climbers from jumping clear but one man alone couldn’t hold off an entire charge. Brambilla linked up with four other riders midway up the climb but on the descent Rojas crashed as rider after rider tried to move clear.

Even the GC riders, Chaves, Joaquim Rodriguez, Valverde and Nairo Quintana tried to forge clear but by the bottom of the descent another re-grouping had taken place with around 40 riders left at the front of the race.

José Gonçalves (Caja Rural), Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) and Alberto Losada (Katusha) then moved clear and briefly threatened to spoil the day for the sprinters who remained as they built up a 19 second advantage. Trek and Tinkoff Saxo combined to nullify the move and even Sagan went on the attack. His chances were dashed though when he and a neutral service moto collided, leaving the Slovak with torn shorts and dashed chances.

A late attack from Adam Hansen came with 1.5km to go but the sprinters who had survived a day of utter chaos were not to be denied. Credit to Stuyven for his win but it was a stage that will be remembered for all the crashes.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing4:06:05
2Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 1 - Cell 2
3Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ.frRow 2 - Cell 2
4Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 3 - Cell 2
5Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - QhubekaRow 4 - Cell 2
6Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 5 - Cell 2
7Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 6 - Cell 2
8Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 7 - Cell 2
9Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team SkyRow 9 - Cell 2
11Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdgeRow 11 - Cell 2
13José Gonçalves (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 12 - Cell 2
14Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 13 - Cell 2
15Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 14 - Cell 2
16Andre Cardoso (Por) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 15 - Cell 2
17Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-MeridaRow 16 - Cell 2
18Miguel Angel Rubiano (Col) ColombiaRow 17 - Cell 2
19Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - QhubekaRow 19 - Cell 2
21Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 22 - Cell 2
24Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 23 - Cell 2
25Romain Sicard (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 24 - Cell 2
26Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Christopher Froome (GBr) Team SkyRow 26 - Cell 2
28Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team KatushaRow 27 - Cell 2
29Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 28 - Cell 2
30Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 29 - Cell 2
31Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team KatushaRow 30 - Cell 2
32Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 31 - Cell 2
33Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 32 - Cell 2
34Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 33 - Cell 2
35Omar Fraile (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 34 - Cell 2
36Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 35 - Cell 2
37Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 36 - Cell 2
38Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 37 - Cell 2
39Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.frRow 38 - Cell 2
40Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 39 - Cell 2
41Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team SkyRow 41 - Cell 2
43Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory RacingRow 43 - Cell 2
45Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 44 - Cell 2
46David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 45 - Cell 2
47Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 46 - Cell 2
48Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team KatushaRow 47 - Cell 2
49Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek Factory Racing0:00:17
50Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:32
51Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha0:00:38
52Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-Step0:04:57
53Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 52 - Cell 2
54Leonardo Duque (Col) ColombiaRow 53 - Cell 2
55Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ.frRow 54 - Cell 2
56Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 55 - Cell 2
57Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 56 - Cell 2
58Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale