Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) won the 2nd stage of the Ruta del Sol after a reduced group arrived at the finale to sprint for the win. Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) was 2nd with Ben Swift (Team Sky) the rider taking the final podium spot.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had a quiet start to the stage when 4 riders got away to form the break of the day. As the peloton then later reeled the quartet in just before the only climb of the day started, with 30km to go, our African Team came to the fore to light up the race.
With Team Sky setting the pace on the lower slopes of the 6km climb, our Belorussian powerhouse, Kanstantsin Siutsou charged ahead solo, and pried open a 20 second lead. Siutsou quickly got himself into a rhythm on the ever changing gradient, and held his 20 second advantage right up until the 18km descent to the line began. Attacks came thick and fast from the peloton as they too neared the top of the climb.
As Siutsou made the drop to the finish, 18 riders would bridge the gap to our African Team rider with 10km to go. With not many teams represented by more than a single rider, the pace lulled enough for a larger chase group to regain contact with just 4km remaining. A number of sprinters were part of this group and so was our Basque rider, Omar Fraile. As the fast men lined up the finish, Fraile put in a last ditch attack with 1km to go but he was immediately chased by the sprinters teams and eventually caught with 200m to go.
Our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders were left with no significant result on the day but take much confidence into tomorrow’s stage, which is suited to our climbing contingent here at the Ruta del Sol.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
Today’s stage was all about the last 35km, with a 6km climb. Our plan was to support Kristian Sbaragli if he had the legs to stay in the first group, if not our climbers had the freedom to make a move in the race which Kanstantsin went on to do pretty well. His maximum gap was 28 seconds but teams like BMC and Movistar chased him down. It was a good try by Kanstantsin. Tomorrow is going to be a medium mountain stage in cold conditions which we look forward to.