UAE Team Emirates’ Matej Mohoric battled his way to a solo victory on stage seven of La Vuelta as Chris Froome retained his slender overall lead in the red jersey for Team Sky.
The 22-year-old Slovenian rider saw off the challenge of a 14-man breakaway heading into the finish at Cuenca to cross 16 seconds ahead of Poland’s Pawel Poljanski as the Bora-Hansgrohe racer ended runner-up for the second consecutive day.
The 207-kilometre stage, which started from Lliria, featured a treble of category three climbs, with the breakaway taking shape from around 10kms as the riders battled against crosswinds.
However, it was Mohoric who ultimately lasted the distance for the climb and descent of Alto del Castillo before then pulling clear as he closed in on Cuenca.
It was a spectacular performance from Mohoric, who said: “It’s incredible! It’s been a long time since my last big win. I’ve always worked hard and tried my best, but it is great to have a victory again.”
“I’m in pretty good shape so today the team wanted me to go into the breakaway, I tried to save as much energy as possible and then just waited until the final which was well suited to my skills.”
Saturday’s eighth stage will run from Hellin to Xorret de Cat, which includes a category one climb towards the finish of the 199.5km route.
— @UAE-TeamEmirates (@TeamUAEAbuDhabi) August 25, 2017
UAE Team Emirates’ Italian sprinter Sacha Modolo earned a top-five finish at stage two of the Vuelta a Espana yesterday, crossing the finish line fifth in France.
Modolo’s team-mate, Moroccan rider Anass Ait el Abdia, wasn’t as fortunate as he got caught up in a crash with half a dozen other riders – including Javi Moreno of Bahrain Merida and Marc Fournier (FDJ) – forcing him to withdraw from the race following the treacherous stage.
“It was an extremely nervewracking stage that was made harder with high speeds throughout and windy weather conditions,” Modolo said.
“I managed to get into a good position and choose the right timing to start my sprint, though I have to be honest, my legs felt quite heavy today and not in their best condition.
“Seeing as that was the case, fifth place is pretty good.”
Ireland’s Dan Martin has agreed to join UAE Team Emirates from Quick Step Floors for the next two seasons, the Emirati team said on Friday.
Martin, 30, finished sixth at the Tour de France last month despite Quick Step being focussed on stage wins with star sprinter Marcel Kittel rather than the overall classification.
“As I enter into the most important years of my career, they (UAE) offer me the best platform possible to reach my potential and fulfil my sporting goals,” said Martin, one of a small number of current riders to have won two prestigious ‘Monument’ one-day classics.
Martin won Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2013 and the Tour of Lombardy a year later but has since developed into one of the best stage racers in the world, finishing seventh in the 2014 Vuelta a Espana and ninth at last year’s Tour before improving on that this time around.
Australian Rory Sutherland, 35, has also joined UAE for a year from Movistar.
— Dan Martin (@DanMartin86) August 18, 2017
Provided by AFP Sport