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Vuelta a España stage 2 - Live coverage

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Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage from stage 2 of the Vuelta a Espana.

We're in Pamplona for the start of stage 2 of the Vuelta, Roglic is in red and we've got  another mountain showdown on the cards. We'll have complete live coverage throughout what should be another thrilling day of racing. 

Coming into today's 151km stage, this is how things look on  GC. Roglic leads already but the time gaps are small for a number of overall contenders. 

1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 04:22:24
2 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:05
3 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation 00:00:07
4 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 00:00:11
5 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:11
6 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:11
7 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling 00:00:14
8 Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:20
9 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:50
10 Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep 00:01:01

The start of the stage is precisely 18 minutes from now but most riders have signed on already. 

Here's Peter Cossins with today's stage preview. Over to you, Peter:

Starting in Navarra’s main city, this 151.6km stage almost replicates the Vuelta’s opener, with one fewer third-category climb prior to a challenging category 1 test at the finale. From Pamplona, the route heads west towards the first of those third cats, the Alto de Guirguillano.

From that pass, the riders will drop to around 500 metres and remain at that altitude for close to 50 kilometres. They will then tackle the 9.2km ascent of the Puerto de Urbasa, which averages 4.7 per cent. Having descended to Olatzi, they’ll turn due east and begin the most critical part of the stage.

The intermediate sprint arrives in Arbizu, just before the climb starts to the sanctuary of San Miguel de Aralar. The Vuelta last travelled up the road to the sanctuary in 2014, when Fabio Aru was the stage winner at the summit.

The first category climb extends to 9.4km, averaging 7.9 per cent, so it’s a significant test. It’s made even more challenging as the road has been built using long concrete slabs, their surface slightly rippled to provide grip. However, in wet conditions, it’s extremely hard to maintain traction on any kind of concrete road, and especially one like this with frequent changes of gradient.

The slope is fierce almost from the off, with ramps well into double figures in the opening kilometre. A little further on, there is the best part of two kilometres at 10 per cent, the gradient then easing to a much more amenable 6-7 per cent until the final two kilometres, where the road rises far more abruptly once again.

There are likely to be gaps between the GC contenders, which should ensure the subsequent 17km descent to the finish in Lekunberri is a fascinating spectacle. It will be interesting to see how the duel between the breakaway group and the peloton plays out as well. Coming in between two first-category summit finishes, the Vuelta favourites may be happy to give the escapees some leeway today.

To summarize who is already down on GC, we've put this little article together. Already, Chris Froome and Thibaut Pinot are out of the equation.

Groupama-FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot has continued at this year’s Tour de France – perhaps with an eye on the stage 20 time trial on home roads – despite having fallen out of contention for the GC on stage 8 of the race

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The situation isn't great for Tom Dumoulin either, who told CN only a couple of days ago that he was aiming for the podium but there are several riders on his own team who climbed better than him on the opening stage. Here's what the form Giro d'Italia winner had to say last night.

Talking of Dumoulin, our latest podcast is out and he features on there. We also look back at the Tour of Flanders, discuss the rivalry between Van Aert and Van der Poel, and hear from Joao Almeida at the Giro. Here's the link.

We're heading through the neutralized zone at the moment, but it's quite long, 9km to be exact. We'll be racing soon enough and there's going to be a huge fight to get into the break and Jumbo Visma might even give the jersey away today. Much will depend on who is in the break.

It's not an entirely flat stage early on and there are a few lumps before we even get to the first climb of the day, the Alto de Guirguillano (third cat) which peaks out with 122km to go. It's a good launchpad for a round of attacks if a break hasn't formed by that point. 

Here's how things look in the teams standings after yesterday's stage win and all-round impressive performance from Jumbo Visma.

1 Team Jumbo-Visma 13:08:32

2 Movistar Team 0:01:19

3 UAE Team Emirates 0:02:30

Tour de France 2020 - 107th Edition - 16th stage Grenoble - Meribel - Col de la Loze 170 km - 16/09/2020 - Sepp Kuss (USA - Team Jumbo - Visma) - photo POOL/BettiniPhoto©2020

(Image credit: Bettini Image)

We're still racing through the neutralized zone but we'll be racing in less than five minutes on stage 2 of the Vuelta a Espana.

Over in the Giro there's 88km to go on stage 17 and you can follow all the action here.

While here in Spain we've just raced through the opening 1km and we've 150 more to go. No attacks just yet but give it time.

One rider who attacked on the final climb yesterday and finished close to Roglic, was Dan Martin.

"That was always the plan," he said after the finish. "But we take it day by day. We have no pressure here and we just enjoy the race.

"We have a very young team and it's great experience for them all to ride the [general] classification. It's very early in the race but it's a nice start."

The Irishman is back in form after a difficult few months and Tour de France. You can find more on Martin, just here.

10km covered in the stage and still no breakaway has formed but we're about to hit a short little rise, so we could expect some moves shortly. 

The chances of a break are good today though because we've already got significant gaps in the peloton thanks to yesterday's summit finish. Over half the bunch are already more than 15 minutes down on Roglic. 

The Alto de Guirguillano, our first climb of the day is 8.2km in length - so long for a 3rd cat - and has an average gradient of 4.3 per cent. The bunch have a side/head wind at the moment though, so that could be slowing down the formation of an early break.

Pim Lightart (Total Direct Énergie)  is trying his best to get away but the 32-year-old, who is riding his fourth Vuelta has been caught by the bunch. There's a real battle to get into the break this afternoon though.

Quentin Jauregui come on down. The AG2R La Mondiale rider has broken clear of the peloton and he has a slender gap...

And now he's caught. Oh well.

138km to go and the race is still together but it's only a matter of time before a break forms.

Situation

Juan Felipe Osorio is the next rider try his luck and the Burgos rider is clear from the bunch with 136km to go. He's got two riders in hot pursuit but this looks promising as the bunch ease back to almost a minute down.

Tim Wellens is on the attack and he was part of the chase that swelled to three riders. They've now caught Juan Felipe Osorio and we've got four leaders on the stage with 135km to go. The break have 58 seconds over the main field. 

We're about 5km from the Alto de Guirguillano so this is a critical moment for the four riders out front.

So our four leaders are Julius Van den Berg (EF Pro Cycling), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Juan Felipe Osorio (Burgos-BH). 133km to go!

Simon says

Attack from Simon Geschke who then jumps from the bunch and thinks that he can make contact on the first climb. Possible. 

Axel Domont has quit the race. That's the third rider from AG2R to leave the race after Geniez and Frank.

Meanwhile we're onto the first climb and the racing remains flat out. The four leaders out front - Julius Van den Berg (EF Pro Cycling), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Juan Felipe Osorio (Burgos-BH) - have less than 30 seconds on the bunch with Geschke 15 seconds between both groups. 

About five elevenths up the climb and Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) and Luis Angel mate (Cofidis)  have attacked from the bunch and tucked in with Geschke but then there's a bit of a reshuffle and it's just Armirail who keeps on riding but the bunch are traveling so fast that it looks like it's all going to come back together before we even hit the summit.

Wellens was first over the top of the climb but on the descent the Belgian sits up and it looks like an entirely new break has formed with riders pinging all over the place. This has been such a frantic start to stage 2 at the Vuelta a Espana.

We have a group of three, then two chasers and then the bunch but they're all separated by less than 10 seconds so it looks like this is all coming back together one more.

Hivert is one of the riders on the attack and it's clear that Direct Energie want to put a rider in the break today. It's non stop action and already this is turning into an epic Grand Tour. 113km to go on this stage.

Wellens in fact latched onto that move from Hivert and two other riders and it's starting to look like this might be the right move. We still have to chasers though and then the bunch at around 1;30.

We reported earlier today that Axel Domont abandoned. He crashed and AG2Rr have just told us that he will retire from cycling as this was due to be his final race as a pro. He's going to be wine maker. Good luck to the 30-year-old. 

Situation

Okay. I think the race has settled down. We have five riders up the road with 107km to go.

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Alex Aranburu (Astana), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ),  Jonathan Hivert (Total Direct Énergie) and Gonzalo Serrano (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).

They have 3'56 on the bunch with Jumbo Visma leading the way.

Paul Martens is doing a great Tony Martin impression and setting the pace on the the front of the bunch. He's also set to retire at the end of this year. Martens, not Martin, that is.

Angel Madrazo is back with the car and something is wrong because he's holding his face and he doesn't look great. Not sure what happened, maybe a stone hit him, or he got stung. He's still riding though, which is a good sign.

Michel Ries is also at the back of the bunch and is calling for the team car. 

The five leaders have 4'06 now with 102km to go and even though the terrain is rolling they have a great chance of trying to double their lead but the problem could be the headwind they have.

Wellens, 29, is easily the most successful rider in the break with two stage wins in the Giro, a GP Montreal, a Tour of Pologne and an Enico in his palmares. He was on the attack yesterday and this is his first ride in the Vuelta. He's picked the right move today. 

LAGOS PORTUGAL FEBRUARY 19 Tim Wellens of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal Joo Almeida of Portugal and Team Deceuninck Quick Step Olivier Le Gac of France and Team Groupama FDJ during the 46th Volta ao Algarve 2020 Stage 1 a 1956km stage from Portimo to Lagos VAlgarve2020 on February 19 2020 in Lagos Portugal Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Hivert, 35, is in the break too. He's also making his Vuelta debut but he won the Gran Premio Miguel Indurain in 2019, and today's stage started in Pamplona, near where Indurain is from. Is that an omen for today? 

The GP Indurain didn't take place this year but what a race. Fabian Wegmann used to train specifically for it, and won it twice during his career. 

No chance of the break doubling their lead on the bunch. The peloton are riding tempo but they're holding the five man group at 4'08 with 95km to go. 

Situation

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Alex Aranburu (Astana), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ),  Jonathan Hivert (Total Direct Énergie) and Gonzalo Serrano (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) have 90km to go and their lead is at 3'59.

We're still about 20km from the next climb of the Puerto de Urbasa. It's 9,2km in length and has an average gradient of over 4 per cent. 

The break need more time, even at this stage in the race. It's not a summit finish but they'll need around four-five minutes at the foot of the final climb of the Alto de San Miguel if they're to stay away.

It's still all of Jumbo Visma on the front of the race and setting the pace on behalf of Primoz Roglic, with the gap  to the break at 4'22 with 82km to go.

Bruno Armirail is riding his second Grand Tour, and second Vuelta. He was fifth in a stage last year and is looking to help turn around Groupama's race after they saw both Pinot and Gaudu lose time on stage 1.

CHARTREUSE FRANCE AUGUST 13 Bruno Armirail of France and Team Groupama FDJ Michael Schar of Switzerland and CCC Team Polka Dot Mountain Jersey Kasper Asgreen of Denmark and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Breakaway during the 72nd Criterium du Dauphine 2020 Stage 2 a 135km stage from Vienne to Col de PorteChartreuse 1316m dauphine Dauphin on August 13 2020 in Chartreuse France Photo by Justin SetterfieldGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

A few riders have picked up lunch from the feedzone but the pace isn't that relaxed as we see Jumbo Visma line out the bunch with 77km to go . The gap to the break is now 4'40, which is the biggest gap that we've had all day.

Paul Martens is still on the front of the peloton and dictating the pace. The 35-year-old has been with the one team for most of his career and was even a trainee with T-Mobile back in 2005.

Out front and with the break and we're about to start on the Puerto de Urbasa, the second climb of the day.

71km to go and Wellens has attacked. 

He's not happy with the efforts from the rest of the break and he's going alone. 

It's a gamble but he probably understands that the break needs to up the pace if they are to gain more time. He looks back but he's not waiting for any help to come to him. And he starts the second climb of the Puerto de Urbasa.

Wellens is riding this like a 71km time trial and he already has 35 seconds on the rest   of the break. 

45 seconds now for Welllens and there's no reaction from the rest of the break as we continue to climb.

Wellens has 5.1km to go until the summit as we see the bunch taking on the slower slopes of this long third cat climb. 50 seconds now for Wellens.

Wellens has nothing but complete intent today and has drawn out the gap on the rest of the break to 1'27 with 66km to go. Roglic, meanwhile, is looking comfortable in the main field. 

The bunch are drifting to almost six minutes now so Wellens is really taking the race by the scruff of the neck on stage 2. He's about 700m from the summit of this climb.

1'33 for Wellens now and with the bunch a 6'13 he has a real chance. The rest of the break have woken up on the descent and they have a carrot to chase but this is a real test of their firepower because Wellens is such a huge talent. 

Even the bunch have started to react and Movistar hit the front with 58km to go. Open countryside and we have crosswinds and right away we're seeing huge splits in the peloton.

And now Roglic is being forced to chase n his own. He just makes it but Movistar came close to time trialing away from the entire peloton.

A few more riders make it back and then Movistar go again. 57km to  go.

The bunch have lined out and there are still a couple of small groups off the back as now Ineos join the action on the front of the race as they look to keep Carapaz safe and sound. And again we have another major split. 

We went through a feedzone but there was no hope in taking on supplies as we see a group of around 40 riders move clear from the rest of the peloton. 54km to go.

Movistar lead the first peloton on the road and the increase in pace has meant Wellens has lost about a minute. He's still 1'29 clear of the rest of the break, and 4'41 ahead of the peloton. 

Situation

50km to go and Wellens has 1'33 on Alex Aranburu (Astana), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ),  Jonathan Hivert (Total Direct Énergie) and Gonzalo Serrano (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).

The peloton are at 4'20. 

A few drops of rain now as we see Wellens drive down this long descent. It looks like the Belgian made his attack just in time but he will need the bunch to ease up soon if he is to keep any hope of winning the stage. Movistar are in full flight though.

The are now around 60-70 riders in the Movistar group but there's still a gap to the next group and it looks like ISN are chasing, so has Dan Martin missed out? We're still looking for confirmation.

Dan Martin is there in the Movistar group as we see Wellens back on the flat roads as he tries to find more time.

43km to go and Wellens has 1'28 on the rest of the early break but the Movistar bunch are closing, with the  gap at 3'47. 

Another dozen or so riders are about to catch the Movistar bunch but there's less than 50 riders now.

Wellens is even losing time to the early break, with the gap down to 1'09. 

The second peloton, still no names  of riders within it, are a minute down on the Movistar/Jumbo Visma group.

Froome is off the back too. Not sure what group he's in but he's way off the back and his day is done.

Movistar drive the pace once more and Wellens has just 3'09 now with 40km to go. Froome was in a group of three riders and it looked like it might have been the last group on the road. 

Cofidis are chasing so it looks like G Martin has missed out and he could lose  a huge amount of time today if this continues. 

We're about 13km from the base of the final climb.

Wellens is easing up and he's calling for the car. The second group are at 19 seconds and the bunch are at 2'08. It's going to be awkward for Wellens when he comes back to the riders he attacked earlier in the stage. 38km to go.

Wellens is caught and just moves to the back of the break with 37km to go. 

It was beginning to look good for Wellens but he and the rest of the break only have 1'10 with 36km to go.

Less than a minute now for the five leaders and it looks as though they'll be caught before our final climb. 

35km to go and Armirail has just launched huge attack. The rest of the break just wave him clear. 

The Martin (Cofidis) group are over 2'30 behind the main field as up ahead Armirail leads by 26 seconds over the rest of the break.

There's a race into the base of the final climb  as a few more drops of rain start to fall. Movistar, Astana, Ineos and Jumbo Visma are leading the charge as we see Carapaz on the attack now with a Amador setting him up.

So with 29km to go we have Armirail, then Carapaz, Amador and  Aranburu. Then the Roglic peloton about 15 seconds further back. This is a really brave move from Carapaz as we're still about 3km from the foot of the final climb.

Onto the climb bu Carapaz is about to be caught. This ascent is a real brute and rider are being dropped immediately. 

Gesink has been dropped as Carapaz is caught with 26km to go.

Ineos have lost most of their team as Movistar hit the front. 8.3km from the summit of the climb.

It looks like Soler on the front as LL Sanchez looks around. All the true GC riders are here apart from G Martin who was dropped in the cross winds.

We're down to about 20 riders in the GC group as Rojas is dropped. 

25km to go and Dumoulin is losing ground too.

Dumoulin is about 10m off the back and might come back.... no he's done for the day. 

Carapaz has one teammate left in the group but Chaves, D Martin, Roglic, Valverde, Kuss, Bennett, Mas and Carthy are all there.

Poels is at the  back now and he looks to be struggling but we still have 6.4km to go until the summit and then the long descent. 

Still four Movistar riders on the front and now LL Sanchez attacks with 22km to go. He had a word with Movistar before attacking and now he's clear as we see Poels start to lose contact. He's coming back though slowly.

No time gap for Sanchez but he looks good right now but there are some tougher sections to come on the climb. 

We're 5.1km from the summit of the climb as Poels makes it back. He's hanging on though as we see Nieve is there too.

Dan Martin moves up and rides near Mas. The Irishman will surely attack again today.

Sanchez has 24 seconds but if he has 45 seconds at the summit the stage might be his. 

4km from the summit and it looks like Poels has cracked now. 

Movistar line the group out once more and cut 10 seconds off Sanchez' lead with 20km to go on the stage.

The Spanish national champion only has 12 seconds but still has 3.5km to climb.

Soler now hits the front for Mas and they can see Sanchez up ahead.

Further down the climb and Vlasov is having another bad day but it looks like Sanchez is about to be caught. 2.7km to go until we reach the top of the climb.

Sosa has been dropped and Sanchez has been caught. 19km to go on the stage.

We've 2.1km to go on the climb and no attacks from the GC riders. Yet.

We're down to about 15 riders as a couple more are distanced. 

Soler turns on the power and we're now down to less than a dozen riders.

Martin, Chaves, Roglic, Kuss and Carapaz are all there but it's still Movistar doing all the work.

Sanchez dropped. Formolo dropped.

Carthy is there though.

900m to go and Kuss attacks. Carapaz then goes over the top of him.

Movistar then bring it all back together. Just nine riders left.

Soler still on the front and we're about to hit the summit. 

Roglic is just happy to follow and then Carapaz attacks.

Carthy is dropped and Chaves too.

Both riders have come back though as we start the descent and we have eight riders. Kuss, Chaves, Valverde, Soler, Mas, Carthy, Martin and Carapaz with 14km to go. We do have  bonus seconds on the line. 

A  rider comes from the back and it's Soler who attacks with 13.7km to go. That's a good move.

Soler has  five seconds as Bennett makes it back and then attacks too but Movistar bring him back.

Bennett stays on the front as he tries to peg back Soler.

Soler started the stage over a minute down so isn't a current threat to Roglic. The Movistar rider has a 13 second lead with 10.6km to go.

Soler has never won a stage in a Grand Tour but he's a huge chance now with his lead at 12 seconds with 9.6km to go.

Bennett and Kuss are leading  the chase but they're not taking any risks.

22 seconds now for Soler with 8km to go.

The rain is really coming down but Soler is putting in an excellent descent. He has 21 seconds with 5.7km to go.

5km to go now for Soler but he's lost a couple of seconds. 

It's Soler versus Bennett at the moment but the Movistar rider is holding his ground. Remember Movistar have not won a race since the very start of the year.

Just over 1km to go and it looks like the stage is heading to Soler and Movistar but there are still 6 and 4 bonus seconds available on the line.

1km to go for Soler. 

The road flattens out but Soler has 25 seconds so the win will be his.

He gets on the radio. Maybe he's asking if he needs to wait.

Marc Soler wins stage 2 of the Vuelta a Espana.

Roglic takes second and 6 seconds, and Martin is third and takes 4 seconds. 

A big group finishes about a minute down and then a few seconds later Poels comes over the line.

Here are the stage results

1 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 3:47:04
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:19
3 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:00:19
4 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:19
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:19
6 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:19
7 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:19
8 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:19
9 Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:19
10 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:19

And here's the GC for the end of the stage:

General Classification
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 8:09:41
2 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:00:09
3 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:11
4 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:17
5 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:17
6 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:20
7 Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:26
8 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:56

That was a really good stage and this Vuelta is shaping up very nicely indeed. No major fireworks but we've seen more proof in terms of who is in contention this year.

Here's our short report, news and results from the stage.

LEKUNBERRI SPAIN OCTOBER 21 Arrival Marc Soler Gimenez of Spain and Movistar Team Celebration during the 75th Tour of Spain 2020 Stage 2 a 1516km stage from Pamplona to Lekunberri lavuelta LaVuelta20 La Vuelta on October 21 2020 in Lekunberri Spain Photo by Justin SetterfieldGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Big time loss for Dumoulin today, he's over nine minutes down on Roglic.

G Martin also lost significant time and is over nine minutes off the pace. He'll be going for stage wins from now on.

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