Kristian Sbaragli once again proofed to be on form when stage 10 of La Vuelta a Espana came to conclusion in Castellòn. The 24-year-old Italian powerhouse rode himself into perfect position over the last kilometer to finally beat John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar) into second and third. This win marks Kristian’s first ever triumph in a European UCI race.
With only 146 kilometers to cover and a second-category climb 16 kilometres from the line the race was set to be hectic. There were numerous attacks and it took quite a while until a group of 14 took off. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung was represented in this break with Tour de France stage winner Steve Cummings and Eritrean road race champion Natnael Berhane. Nevertheless, Giant-Alpecin and Trek had different ideas in mind and kept the group in sight. With 45 kilometers to go the escapees were reeled in.
After that the team played a waiting game to stay in contention. No other attack was meant to be successful. Kristian rolled over the climb in about 20th position and managed to hold it together on the fast run-in to Castellòn. Placing 6th twice and 3rd once in the last nine days he waited long to open his sprint. With 200 meters to go he left it all on the bike to celebrate a breakthrough win, the second Grand-Tour stage win for our team this year.
Louis Meintjes rode strong as well and kept his good overall position. He still sits 12th in the GC.
Kristian Sbaragli – Rider
I was feeling really well on the climb and just didn’t want to miss out again. I came so close a few times already in this La Vuelta, so I decided to wait until 200 meters to go before leaving it all out there. It’s sensational, something I never tasted before. This win is good for our team, but especially for Qhubeka and our 5.000 bikes campaign.
Jens Zemke – Head Sports Director
It’s unbelievable, a milestone performance for Kristian. He rode really well in the first couple of days, but felt disappointed after his near misses. Today he did everything right and managed to get the team’s second Grand-Tour stage win this year. It’s a great moment for us as a team.