Jens Keukeleire Has More Reason to Celebrate With His Win at Vuelta a Burgos

Thu 8 Aug 2013

Jens Keukeleire powered his way to victory on the uphill finish of stage two of Vuelta a Burgos after what was a nervous day in the peloton. Coming on the heels of his contract extension announcement with ORICA-GreenEDGE, Keukeleire put his stamp of authority on the team’s decision to bring him back for another two years. The win marks Keukeleire’s first win this season and his first individual win with the Australian outfit.

“It was not very easy today,” said Keukeleire. There wasn’t a lot of wind but there was enough to make it nervous in the bunch. You had to stay attentive the whole day.”

Almost from the gun, a small break of seven riders formed at the front of the race. Looking for another opportunity after spending a long day in the break on stage one, Christian Meier was at it again amongst the break on day two.

During the break’s escape, Meier was able to grab sprint points in all three intermediate sprints. Meier now sits in second in the sprint classification behind Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).

Within the final 10km, several attempts were made from the breakaway riders to slip away. Two riders managed to open a small gap, but their advantage was short lived. With 4km to go, it was gruppo compacto.

All together leading into the closing kilometres, the ORICA-GreenEDGE team was attentive to keeping Keukeleire well positioned.

“The hardest part was 2km from the finish when we took a left turn on a small road,” said Keukeleire. “Then it gradually started going up to the finish and got steeper in the last kilometre. The team brought me in to a perfect position going into the final stretch.”

The surprise attack of the day came within the last kilometre from the Columbian climber Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

“It was a bit bizarre when Quintana went off the front with an attack at the end,” said Keukeleire. “I’ve never raced with him and I only know him from flying uphill at the Tour. I wasn’t scared when he attacked but I was surprised he thought he could get away at the point.”

With help from Mitch Docker, Keukeleire was able to neutralize Quintana’s move ensuring a bunch kick to the finish.

“With 300m to go, I had enough power in my legs to keep going into the finish,” added Keukeleire. “I just went, and I had enough to hold on.”

Already it had been a good day for Keukeleire, and the win gives Keukeleire even more reason to celebrate.

“Winning is always a special moment,” said Keukeleire. “It’s extra special when you can finish the work the boys have done for you.”

“It’s been a very good day,” Keukeleire continued. “I would really like to thank the team for the job they did. The work they did was amazing.”