Moreno Hofland (Belkin) won the final stage of the Ruta Del Sol. Nikias Arndt (Giant) was 2nd and Kenneth Vanbilsen 3rd. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) finished safely in the peloton to secure the overall victory.
Today’s stage saw quite a bit of climbing early on when the peloton had to take on the category 1 Puerto del Boyar after only 10km of racing. The mountain provided the perfect launch pad for a breakaway and 8 riders obliged by riding clear on its slopes. Linus Gerdemann (MTN-Qhubeka), Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural), Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin), Tom Dumoulin (Giant), Jakob Fugslang (Astana), Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol), Javier Mejias (Novo Nordisk) and Julian Arredondo (Trek) were the riders that escaped.
With the presence of Txurruka in the break, the Movistar led peloton never let the break get much more than a 3 minute advantage in order to protect Valverde’s general classification lead. With only a minute lead and around 35km to go the break started attacking each other. Dumoulin managed to get away and pushed his advantage out to 1’45”. Belkin took up the chase with some assistance from Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung and Topsport Vlaanderen. Eventually with 6km to go, the race was all together.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had its leadout assembled for Gerald Ciolek but under the pressure of Topsport Vlaanderen, some gaps opened up in the peloton in the final kilometer. Coming to the line it was only really 4 riders contesting the sprint.
Directeur Sportif, Manel Lacambra reflected on the days racing. “Today we knew a strong break would go in the first climb and we decided to put Linus in it to cover the move,”
“The rest of the team were always protecting Gerald very well and in the last kilometers we started to prepare the leadout for him. We were working perfectly but in the last 3km there was some chaos and confusion at the front of the group. We know what happened and how to improve on it. Next time it will be better.”
“We are happy with what we did here at the Ruta Del Sol. We raced better and better every day and we won a stage in this prestigious race. Now we are confident for the next races and we can’t wait to race again together,” concluded Lacambra.