Allan Davis sprinted to third on stage 18 of the Vuelta a España. The day marked the first bunch sprint in Spain after eight days of racing tailored towards the climbers and breakaway artists.
“It was a fast stage throughout the entire day,” said Sports Director Neil Stephens. “We knew we’d get up for Allan Davis in the sprint, but Valladolid, where the stage finished today, is famous for its winds, so we also needed to be attentive to splits if the winds were strong.”
A five-rider break formed from kilometer zero and gained a maximum advantage of 4:30 before the peloton brought them back within the final 30 kilometers. Although winds wreaked havoc in the last third of the field, they were not strong enough to force an elite selection.
“There wasn’t enough wind for anything major to happen today,” said Stephens. “We began to prepare for the sprint in the last 10 kilometers.”
Julian Dean, Mitch Docker, Simon Clarke and Daniel Teklehaimanot looked after Davis as the finish line loomed with Teklehaimanot and Clarke coming to fore inside the final three kilometers.
“The boys did a really good job once again with the lead out,” said Davis. “There were a lot of corners and roundabouts in the final. We had a mishap in the final corner. I was further back than I wanted to be, and I had to brake too much. I lost my wheel.”
Sprinting out of the corner and looking to make up the ground he lost, Davis overtook several sprinters as he powered towards the line. He managed to close in on everyone except Daniele Bennati (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek) and Ben Swift (Sky Procycling) as the Italian snagged the stage win.
“I came home strong but the line came a bit too quick,” Davis noted. “I ended up third. Thanks to the boys for their help in getting me a podium place again today.”
With three riders in the top 15 on the stage, ORICA-GreenEDGE took home the team classification on stage 18. Today’s race lacked climbs, and Simon Clarke remains in the polka dot jersey with three days left to race.