Ninth place for Mezgec and a day in the breakaway for Schultz on stage one of Vuelta a Burgos

Tue 2 Aug 2016

Slovenian fast man Luka Mezgec finished ninth for ORICA-BikeExchange in the fragmented bunch sprint on stage one of the Vuelta a Burgos today whilst Nick Schultz complimented the breakaway in his first full professional race.

In his first race for the team 21-year-old Australian stagiaire Schultz infiltrated and then animated the breakaway for over 100kilometres before the race came back together for the expected bunch sprint.

Danny Van Poppel (Team-Sky) won the sprint after jumping clear of Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) with Mezgec finishing in ninth place from the bunch.

Sport director Dave McPartland was satisfied with the result and happy with performance of the team.

“It was a nice straight forward day out there today,” said McPartland. “There was no wind, it wasn’t particularly selective and that gave Nick (Schulz) the opportunity to get into the breakaway and mix it up.”

“Nick did very well, the group stayed away for most of the stage and I’m pleased that he could get that experience on his first race day, tactically the move was ideal for us because we could sit on and let the sprinter's teams set the tempo.

“We have the horsepower within the squad to set ourselves up for the flat finishes and the team did well to drop Luka (Mezgec) off in a good position going into the last few hundred metres.

“It was tight and pretty hectic after the final corner and Luka tried to break free and in the end did a good job to finish in the top ten.”

How it happened:

Brilliant sunshine and temperatures of 30degrees Celsius welcomed the riders to the start of stage one of the 2016 Vuelta a Burgos.

A breakaway of seven riders formed within the first ten kilometres including 21-year-old Schultz for ORICA-BikeExchange.

After 70kilometres of racing the seven leaders had nearly three minutes on the peloton as the raced passed acre after acre of sun burnt fields.

The advantage of the escapees began to fall around the 100kilometre mark, dropping to two minutes with a flat final 60kilometres ahead.

Team-Sky and Etixx-Quickstep were leading the chase at the front of the peloton with the leaders at 45seconds going into the final 25kilometres.

The field came back together inside the last 15kilometres as the sprinters teams began to dominate the front of the race in preparation for the finale.

The Etixx-Quickstep train led the bunch into the last three kilometres at breakneck speed with Dimension-Data and ORICA-BikeExchange in close attendance.

Damien Howson and Mitch Docker were battling for position with Mezgec on the wheel going into the final kilometre.

However it was Van Poppel who hit out early to comfortable take the victory ahead of Drucker and Gianni Meersman (Etixx-Quickstep). Mezgec was the best-placed rider for ORICA-BikeExchange in ninth place.

The stage two team time trial takes place tomorrow in downtown Burgos and covers 10.7kilometres. The predominantly flat course includes one climb after three kilometres, the Alto del Castillo before following a route in and out of the old towns medieval walls.

Vuelta a Burgos stage one results:

1. Danny Van Poppel (Team-Sky) 03:32:04
2. Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) ST
3. Gianni Meersman (Etixx-Quickstep) ST
9. Luka Mezgec (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST 

General classification after stage one:

1. Danny Van Poppel (Team-Sky) 03:32:04
2. Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) ST
3. Gianni Meersman (Etixx-Quickstep) ST
9. Luka Mezgec (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST