Hard day in the rain for ORICA-SCOTT on stage two in ValenciaThu 2 Feb 2017
A difficult second stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana unfolded in the hills of the Costa Blanca today with ORICA-SCOTT falling victim to the conditions on a crash strewn stage.
2016 Vuelta a Espana stage winner Magnus Cort was the teams best finisher in the top twenty, some 20seconds down on eventual stage winner Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin).
Mechanicals and crashes affected the performance with Simon Yates, Cort and Michael Albasini all hitting the deck as the wet roads played havoc with the racing and splits began to separate the peloton in the final third.
“It was a hell of a day,” said Sport director Neil Stephens. “The rain eased off for the last hour but after the damage from the storms here in recent weeks the roads were pretty hairy in places.”
“The boys rode really well and we were unfortunate to get caught behind the splits a couple of times after crashing at inopportune moments.
“Magnus was up there with the first chasing group right at the end, but lost Jens Keukeleire over the last couple of kilometres when he got held up behind another crash.
“It was one of those days, epic conditions, close to coming back together but not quite and we’re happy to have all come out of it in one piece. Tomorrow is a shorter, easier stage and probably one for the fast men, we will certainly try to be up there and in a position to give it a go.”
How it happened:
A very wet stage two began in Alicante on Spain’s Costa Blanca today and with 180 hilly kilometres ahead the peloton eased out of town with the bunch holding together for the first 40kilometres.
Finally a breakaway group of three riders formed, developing a six-minute advantage by the 60kilometre mark.
The difficult conditions began to take their toll and by the halfway point the leaders saw their advantage fall to less than five minutes.
With 60kilometres remaining the peloton split with the trio of leaders only three minutes ahead of the first group.
Numerous crashes on the slippery roads saw the race disrupted again and with less than 30kilometes to go only two riders remained out front with a lead of two and a half minutes.
The reduced peloton made the catch with only 15kilometres left to race and the final third category climb in sight. The speed remained high onto the climb as fresh attacks started to spring over the final ten kilometres.
Seven riders went clear over the top of the climb including Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Martin. A solo attack on the descent saw the German go clear and create a gap that he held all the way to the way the finish with Cort the first rider home for ORICA-SCOTT in the top twenty.
Tomorrow’s stage three covers 160kilometres from Canals to Riba-Roja e Turia, moving North up the coast with a long dragging climb in the middle of the stage before technical rolling roads all the way to the finish.
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana stage 2 results:
1. Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) 04:44:35
2. Pim Ligthart (Rompoot) 00:00:11
3. Primoz Goglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) 00:00:11
11. Magnus Cort (ORICA-SCOTT) 00:00:20
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com