Bauke Mollema attacked out of a reduced bunch in Burgos to claim stage victory on the 17thstage of the Vuelta a España. The Dutchman was part of a 34 rider group that formed when the crosswinds wreaked havoc on the peloton with 28km left to race.
ORICA-GreenEDGE aimed to put Michael Matthews up for the stage win on what had been regarded as a day for the sprinters. To that end, Christian Meier combined forces with Lampre Merida to control the break of the day. Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural) and Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) slipped away from the peloton in the opening kilometres, gaining a maximum advantage of 8’10.
Meier’s chase efforts with Lampre-Merida ate into the duo’s advantage. Approaching the 30km mark, Aramendia and Hansen had only 1’21 on the field. As the peloton hit an exposed section of road, they encountered strong crosswinds. Saxo-Tinkoff, RadioShack-Leopard-Trek and Movistart were well-poised to take advantage of the situation. Forming an echelon at the head of the peloton and increasing the pace, the three teams worked together to force a selection.
Three distinct groups took shape in the winds. All five ORICA-GreenEDGE riders had missed the selection and found themselves in the third group. Two of the top ten overall were in the same situation. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) were caught out.
“We were hoping a small group would go away, just like it did. If it had been a bigger group, obviously we wanted someone in it, but that wasn’t our preferred scenario. We wanted a small group away that we could control and bring back for the finish. From there, our goal was to focus on putting Bling in a really good position for the sprint. We knew that would be a bit tricky with only five guys. Things went to plan until the race hit the crosswinds. Matthews wasn’t at the front at the crucial moment today. “ - Sport Director Matt Wilson
|1||Bauke Mollema (Ned) - Belkin Pro Cycling Team||4:44:28|
|2||Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) - Sky Procycling||ST|
|3||Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) - Lampre-Merida||ST|
|4||Tyler Farrar (USA) - Garmin-Sharp||ST|
|5||Fabian Cancellara (Swi) - RadioShack Leopard||ST|
|6||Grega Bole (Slo) - Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team||ST|
|7||Luca Paolini (Ita) - Katusha||ST|
|8||Paul Voss (Ger) - Team NetApp-Endura||ST|
|9||José Herrada Lopez (Spa) - Movistar Team||ST|
|10||Nicolas Roche (Irl) - Team Saxo-Tinkoff||ST|
|51||Michael Matthews (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||0:01:31|
|121||Christian Meier (Can) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||0:05:39|
|143||Leigh Howard (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||0:08:45|
|144||Simon Clarke (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||ST|
|145||Mitchell Docker (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||ST|