Danny van Poppel (Team Sky) won his 2nd stage of this years Vuelta a Burgos, by sprinting to victory on today’s 3rd stage. Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC Racing) placed 2nd and the final podium spot went to Gianni Meersman (Etixx-Quickstep).
Today’s stage took in 198km from Sedano to Villarcayo with 3 category 3 climbs along the way. An early break of 5 riders was caught with around 30km to go and this worked out nicely for our African Team, as our riders lined up the final cat 3 climb of the day. This last climb peaked with just 17km to go and this would be where Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka looked to implement its stage tactic.
The plan was to really make the race hard by upping the tempo on the climb, in the hope of splitting the bunch and setting up a smaller group sprint for Kristian Sbaragli. The team rallied together well and did just as planned. There were even a few attacks over the top from rival teams and this was welcomed, as it it just increased the pressure in the peloton.
The split took place and just less than half the peloton went clear, Sbaragli in the front group with all our climbers there to support him. Omar Fraile was exceptional, driving the pace on the front of the peloton to ensure those late attackers were caught and Sbaragli was able to sprint for the win. Unfortunately before the finale, a few of the sprinters made a return to the peloton but it would still be just 70 riders contesting the victory.
Van Poppel took the win after a good team leadout and our Italian sprinter, Sbaragli, finished the stage in a solid 5th place. Our GC hopefuls of Igor Anton, Merhawi Kudus, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Omar Fraile all finished with the front group as well.
Kristian Sbaragli – Rider
We tried to make the selection on the climb and in the final it was a much smaller group at the line. The team worked well but the result from me was not that great. I had a few problems in that last corner and I lost a few meters on the front guys which you don’t get back.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
Our plan was to try and win with Kristian. There was a steep climb with 25km to go and the race had not been that hard from 50km to go so we decided to increase the speed just before the climb. We made a selection but guys like Van Poppel were able to come back before the sprint. Kristian did the sprint, he had some small issues but Van Poppel is the strongest sprinter here. We don’t think we could beat him but a podium result is possible. The guys did a good job today, they showed solid team work which we are happy with.