Matthews wins Pais Vasco opener

Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) won the opening stage at the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco from a small group sprint on the streets of Bilbao, Spain. The Australian sprinter made it through the hilly stage with a front group of roughly 50 riders to take the sprint ahead of world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha).

“I was quite confident going into the stage,” Matthews said. “We did a recon of the final climb yesterday and I knew what I was in for, it just came down to what legs I had today. It turned out I had really good legs, got myself over the climb and I knew from that reduced bunch I had a pretty good chance of cleaning up the sprint.

“The Yates brothers were following a lot of attacks in the final five kilometres, which was great that I didn’t have to worry about any of them. There wasn’t any lead out trains, it was more of a grovel, so I just placed myself within the top five in the final and started my sprint a little earlier, rather than waiting like I did in San Remo, so I couldn’t get boxed in.”

The opening stage of Pais Vasco was a 162.7km stage in and around Bilbao. The stage had three categorized climbs on the Alto de Morga, and twice up the Alto del Vivero.

A breakaway of three riders formed that included Brian Bulgac (LottoNL-Jumbo), Omar Fraile (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), who had a gap of over five minutes, but that was reduced to 3:30 with roughly 60km to go.

Fraile made a solo attack from the breakaway on a smaller climb with just over 35km to go, leaving his companions to be swallowed up by the chasing peloton.

He held a gap of 2:13 minutes with about 25km left in the race, but that gap drastically dropped as the peloton behind made more of a concerted effort to chase. With 17km remaining, and on the last climb over Alto del Vivero, Fraile’s lead was down to 30 seconds largely thanks to the chase coming from Team Movistar.

Back the field, Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) was forced off his bike to deal with a dropped chain at the side of the road. It was bad timing as the attacking started with Sergio Henao (Team Sky) and then Lieuwe Westra (Astana), who was followed by Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep). The series of attacks were not enough to shake Matthews from the front group over the final climb and he remained the man to beat as the dwindled group created the climb and then descended toward the finish line.

Martin took the lead on the fast descent into Bilbao with a long, fragmented line of riders in single file behind. Although several riders attempted to breakaway, including Philippe Gilbert (BMC), they were no match for Martin’s lead-out into the final kilometre with Kwiatkowski on his wheel.

Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) was the first to start the sprint but Matthews jumped next and came around both Kwiatkowski and Gallopin at the line. Zakarin took third place and Reza fourth, leaving Gallopin in fifth.

"I'm happy with today's stage," Kwiatkowski said. "It was a hard final with the 2nd category climb where we didn't reach the summit until 13.5 km before the finish. It was not so easy to control because there were guys trying to escape on that climb, but the team rode perfectly. I had Tony, Carlos Verona, and Petr Vakoc with me in the front group. I also had my other teammates put me into perfect position going into the climb, as it was basically a sprint to get to the front before then.

“It was really nervous all the way to the line. Everyone wanted to show themselves as they usually do in the opening stage of this kind of race. I am happy with my 2nd place on a day like today. I waited a bit too long before launching, but sprinting is also not my top skill and Matthews is a strong guy for the sprints. He deserved the win.  I had good legs in today's stage, and that is the most important thing for me, especially considering I want to fine tune my condition prior to the Ardennes Classics. As for the next stages, we will take it day-by-day."

The Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco will continue with stage 2’s 175.4km race from Bilbao to Vitoria-Gasteiz on Tuesday.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge3:57:07
2Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step
3Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha
4Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ.fr
5Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
6Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
7Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
8Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro Team
9Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step
10Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha
11Janier Acevedo (Col) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
12Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
13Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
14Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team
15Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
16Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
17Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team
18Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step
19Yohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
20Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
21Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge
22Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
23Andre Cardoso (Por) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
24Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
25Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team Sky
26Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
27Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge
28Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
29Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
30Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
31Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha
32Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-Saxo
33Rein Taaramae (Est) Astana Pro Team
34Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Sky
35Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
36Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
37Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
38Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
39Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
40Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal
41Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha
42Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.fr
43Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
44Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
45Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team
46Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
47Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
48Thomas Danielson (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
49David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky
50Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team
51Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
52Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
53Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team
54Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
55Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
56Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge
57Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky
58Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team
59Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
60Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:34
61Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida
62Jonathan Fumeaux (Swi) IAM Cycling
63Patrick Schelling (Swi) IAM Cycling
64Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team
65Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
66José Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team
67Clement Chevrier (Fra) IAM Cycling0:03:09
68Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling
69Lawrence Warbasse (USA) IAM Cycling
70Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge
71Alexander Kolobnev (Rus) Team Katusha
72Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
73Julian Arredondo (Col) Trek Factory Racing
74Martijn Keizer (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
75Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
76Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
77Bruno Pires (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo0:03:09
78George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
79Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team
80Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team
81Angel Vicioso (Spa) Team Katusha
82Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.fr
83Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky
84Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal
85Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Lampre-Merida
86Jerome Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling
87Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha
88Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ.fr
89Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky
90Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin
91Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Tinkoff-Saxo
92Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
93Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale
94David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
95Jose Rodolfo Serpa (Col) Lampre-Merida
96Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
97Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
98Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling0:05:49
99Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step
100Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:07:30
101David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step
102Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:07:44
103Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
104Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
105Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
106Eduard Beltran (Col) Tinkoff-Saxo
107Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing
108David Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling
109Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
110Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge
111Antonio Molina (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
112Hugh Carthy (GBr) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
113Fabricio Ferrari Barcelo (Uru) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
114Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ.fr
115Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ.fr
116Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
117Omar Fraile (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
118Fredrik Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Giant-Alpecin0:08:42
119Michal Golas (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step
120Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
121Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team
122Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
123Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
124Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team
125Brian Bulgac (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:10:05
126Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
127Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step
128Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step
129Mario Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
130Maxim Belkov (Rus) Team Katusha
131Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida
132Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
133Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
134Igor Anton (Spa) Movistar Team
135Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
136Kevin De Weert (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
137Cheng Ji (Chn) Team Giant-Alpecin
138Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
139Matej Mohoric (Slo) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
140Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo
141Caleb Fairly (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin
142Danny Pate (USA) Team Sky
143Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge
144Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida
145Carter Jones (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin
146Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Team Sky
147Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team
148Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:26:00
149Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team
150Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
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Finish
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge25pts
2Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step20
3Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha16
4Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ.fr14
5Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal12
6Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits10
7Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing9
8Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro Team8
9Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step7
10Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha6
11Janier Acevedo (Col) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team5
12Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA4
13Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale3
14Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team2
15Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team1
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Mountain 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits3pts
2Omar Fraile (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA2
3Brian Bulgac (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo1
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Mountain 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Omar Fraile (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA6pts
2Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits4
3Brian Bulgac (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo2
4Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step1
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Mountain 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team Sky6pts
2Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team4
3Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team2
4Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step1
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Sprint 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Omar Fraile (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA3pts
2Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits2
3Igor Anton (Spa) Movistar Team1
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Sprint 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Omar Fraile (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA3pts
2Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida2
3Mario Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida1
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Sprint 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal3pts
2Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team2
3Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge1
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Team
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Etixx - Quick Step11:51:21
2Katusha Team
3Orica GreenEDGE
4Cofidis Solutions Crédits
5Astana Pro Team
6BMC Racing Team
7Team Cannondale - Garmin
8Lotto Soudal
9Trek Factory Racing
10Equipe Cycliste FDJ.fr
11Tinkoff - Saxo
12Ag2r La Mondiale
13Team Sky
14Movistar Team
15Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
16Lampre - Merida0:04:43
17IAM Cycling0:06:17
18Team Giant - Alpecin0:11:51
19Team Lotto NL - Jumbo0:14:02
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General classification after stage 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge3:57:07
2Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step
3Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha
4Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ.fr
5Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
6Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
7Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
8Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro Team
9Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step
10Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha
11Janier Acevedo (Col) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
12Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
13Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
14Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team
15Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
16Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
17Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team
18Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step
19Yohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
20Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
21Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge
22Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
23Andre Cardoso (Por) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
24Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
25Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Team Sky
26Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
27Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge
28Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
29Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
30Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
31Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha
32Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-Saxo
33Rein Taaramae (Est) Astana Pro Team
34Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Sky
35Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
36Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
37Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
38Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
39Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
40Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal
41Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha
42Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.fr
43Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
44Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
45Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team
46Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
47Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
48Thomas Danielson (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
49David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky
50Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team
51Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
52Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
53Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team
54Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
55Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
56Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge
57Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky
58Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team
59Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
60Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team
61Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
62José Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team
63Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
64Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
65Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team
66Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
67Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:34
68Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida
69Jonathan Fumeaux (Swi) IAM Cycling