The 7th stage of the Vuelta a Espana would turn out to be the toughest of the tour so far and also the most eventful for Team MTN-Qhubeka.
Sergio Pardilla and Kristian Sbaragli both hit the deck early on in the stage but both riders were able to continue, thankfully. Due to the two crashes there were also two bike changes and then numerous punctures for our riders as well.
At the end of the day though, Alessandro de Marchi (Cannondale) soloed to victory with Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) 2nd and Hubert Dupont (AG2R La Mondiale) 3rd. All the Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung riders would make it to the finish in one piece, some of the other teams were not so fortunate.
The general feeling was that the break would make it to the finish today, everybody wanted to be in the break. This resulted in an extremely high pace from the gun with the first 20km’s passing by at a 60kph average. Eventually 4 riders were allowed to go clear, De Marchi, Dupont (IAM Cycling), Hesjedal (Garmin – Sharp) and Johann Tschopp (IAM Cycling) would escape and as predicted, this was the race defining move.
Despite a persistently high pace set by Trek-Factory Racing and Lampre-Merida, the break would decide the first 4 positions on the stage. De Marchi was able to ride away from the trio after Hesjedal slid out on a corner with 13km to go.