Alessandro Covi wins Vuelta a Murcia

Alessandro Covi claimed victory at the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia "Costa Calida" in an outstanding collective display from UAE Team Emirates. 

The Italian attacked a lead group of 20 riders with 5km to go and just about hung on, although Matteo Trentin was there just in case, winning the group sprint to make it a UAE one-two on the podium. 

The pair of them put the icing and the cherry on the cake but the groundwork was laid by Brandon McNulty, who went clear in a strong long-range break after the big half-way climb, before dropping his companions with 25km to go and riding solo all the way to the final 5km. 

Arkéa-Samsic had bust their guts to bring back the American and, as soon as the catch been made, Covi sprung out of the heavily reduced group. It was touch and go as he entered the final kilometre with just a few seconds in hand but he finished the job and got his hands in the air as he crossed the line, just as Trentin was doing the same behind.

“It’s my first victory as a pro and I’m very very happy,” Covi said. “It was a very hard 5km but when you see the victory you go faster. I went full gas for the victory and I won, Matteo second, McNulty [did a] good race, all the teammates good race, so I’m very happy for the team.”

The 183km route from Fortuna to the coastal city of Cartagena was punctuated by the big climb of the Collado Bermejo, dubbed the ‘Cima Marco Pantani’ in honour of the former Tour de France and Giro d’Italia winner. However, the much shorter Alto de Cedacero would prove to be decisive later on. 

The day’s breakaway was a two-up venture between Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Asier Etxeberria and Xabier Azparren. They built a lead of four minutes by the time they hit the Bermejo, where Anton Palzer (Bora-Hansgrohe) jumped from the bunch in a failed bid to bridge across. 

After the long descent, and with the breakaway duo caught, the race did open up, with McNulty forging clear alongside Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Kobe Goosens (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux). 

They hit the Alto de Cedacero - 4km at nearly 6 per cent - with a lead of 30 seconds, and McNulty immediately put the hammer down. In turn and in the space of a few kilometres - Politt, Goosens, Barguil - his companions were dropped and he was alone. As the climb continued, he even took his advantage out to 50 seconds. 

There was, however, a response from behind, and Miguel Angel López (Astana Qazaqstan) moved clear with Trentin and Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) before launching a solo pursuit of McNulty. He crested the Cedacero 35 seconds in arrears of the American with 19.5km to go, but dramatically suffered hamstring cramps and was unceremoniously passed by the chasers. 

The small chase group was then absorbed by larger group to form a pack of 20 chasing down McNulty, with Arkéa-Samsic doing most of the heavy lifting. McNulty hung on gamely but started to fade in the final 10km and was caught with 5km to go. 

Immediately, Covi sprang out, not allowing the Arkea riders any pause for breath. He took it all the way to the line, where Trentin capped the team performance with a picture perfect finish line shot.

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Full results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 4:34:50
2Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:01
3Matis Louvel (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
4Jonas Koch (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
5Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
6Orluis Alberto Aular Sanabria (Ven) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
8Thibault Ferasse (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
9Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos-BH
10Marco Tizza (Ita) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
11Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
12Kobe Goossens (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
13Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:00:04
14Georg Steinhauser (Ger) EF Education-EasyPost
15Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
16Frederik Wandahl (Den) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:05
17Andres Camilo Ardila Ordoñez (Col) UAE Team Emirates
18Jai Hindley (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:27
19Thibault Guernalec (Fra) Arkea-Samsic 0:00:34
20Vito Braet (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:00:55
21Ruben Apers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
22Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
23Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
24Max Kanter (Ger) Movistar Team
25Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
26Remy Mertz (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
27Luis-Joe Lührs (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
28Sean Quinn (USA) EF Education-EasyPost
29Jenno Berckmoes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
30Ben King (USA) Human Powered Health
31Jonathan Hivert (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
32Roger Adria Oliveras (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
33Raul Garcia Pierna (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
34Xabier Isasa Larrañaga (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
35Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
36Alessandro Verre (Ita) Arkea-Samsic
37Stephen Bassett (USA) Human Powered Health
38Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
39Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
40Biniam Girmay (Eri) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
41Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
42Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
43Yuriy Natarov (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan Team
44Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Qazaqstan Team 0:01:07
45Oier Lazkano Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:47
46Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:06
47Miguel Angel Ballesteros (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa-Caldas 0:03:47
48Thomas Armstrong (GBr) Electro Hiper Europa-Caldas
49Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
50Aaron Verwilst (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
51Tom Devriendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
52Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
53Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
54Jon Agirre Egaña (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
55Igor Arrieta Lizarraga (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
56Leander Van Hautegem (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB Development Team
57Abner González Rivera (PuR) Movistar Team
58Fernando Barceló Aragon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
59Unai Cuadrado Ruiz De Gauna (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
60Gavin Mannion (USA) Human Powered Health
61Didier Norberto Merchan Cardona (Col) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli 0:06:15
62Anton Palzer (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:06:34
63Cyril Gautier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
64Adria Moreno Sala (Spa) Burgos-BH
65Kenny Molly (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB 0:06:35
66Ander Okamika Bengoetxea (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:07:00
67Chad Haga (USA) Human Powered Health
68Mateu Estelrich Cabanellas (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa-Caldas
69Mirco Maestri (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
70Daniel Muñoz Giraldo (Col) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
71Mark Christian (GBr) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:08:57
72Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
73Adrien Lagree (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
74Xabier Mikel Azparren Irurzun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
75Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
76Davide Martinelli (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
77Asier Etxeberria Zafra (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
78Daniel Hoyos Largo (Col) Electro Hiper Europa-Caldas
79Axel Laurance (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
80Alan Riou (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
81Jelle Wallays (Bel) Cofidis 0:10:22
82André Carvalho (Por) Cofidis
83Vinicius Rangel Costa (Bra) Movistar Team
84Jefferson Alexander Cepeda (Eca) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
85Sergio Araiz Michel (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
86Nathan Brown (USA) Human Powered Health
87Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan Team 0:13:39
88Jhojan Garcia Susa (Col) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
89Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan Team
90Alvaro Cuadros Morata (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
91Pablo Alonso Montes (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa-Caldas 0:15:30
92Isaac Canton Serrano (Spa) Manuela Fundacion
93Marijn van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost
94Eduardo Perez-Landaluce Gonzalez (Spa) Manuela Fundacion
95Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Burgos-BH
96Hideto Nakane (Jpn) EF Education-EasyPost
97Savva Novikov (Rus) Equipo Kern Pharma
98Daniel Jimenez Martinez (Spa) Manuela Fundacion
99Vicente Hernaiz Santamaria (Spa) Manuela Fundacion
100Iker Ballarin Manso (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
101Juan Diego Hoyos Cano (Col) Electro Hiper Europa-Caldas
102Nurbergen Nurlykhassym (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan Team
103Marcos Jurado Rodriguez (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa-Caldas
104Tom Bohli (Swi) Cofidis
105Jelle Declerck (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB Development Team
106Brandon Alejandro Rojas Vega (Col) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
107Andrii Ponomar (Ukr) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
108Juan Antonio Lopez-Cozar Jaimez (Spa) Burgos-BH
109Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
110Ben Healy (Irl) EF Education-EasyPost
111Julius van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost
112Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education-EasyPost
DNFJuan Diego Alba Bolivar (Col) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
DNFMikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFDavide Cimolai (Ita) Cofidis
DNFDimitri Claeys (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFValerio Conti (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFGilles De Wilde (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFJohan Jacobs (Swi) Movistar Team
DNFQuentin Jauregui (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFJuan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates
DNFJoel Nicolau Beltran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
DNFLukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFAlejandro Ropero Molina (Spa) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
DNFSergio Samitier Samitier (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFDaniel Viegas (Por) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
DNFPelayo Sanchez Mayo (Spa) Burgos-BH
DNFCarlos Garcia Pierna (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
DNFRicardo Alejandro Zurita Garcia (Spa) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
DNFMilan Fretin (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFRaul Rota Rus (Spa) Manuela Fundacion
DNFJoan Marti Bennassar Rossello (Spa) Manuela Fundacion
DNFSantiago Mesa Pietralunga (Col) Manuela Fundacion
DNFJules Hesters (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise

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