After the disappointment of the high speed crash on Saturday, UAE Team Emirates came back to animate the closing kilometres of the Stage 2 arrival from Benidorm to Calpe on Sunday.
A group of four riders moved away in the early stages but would be reeled in as the peloton neared the final ascent. When the riders crested the final climb of the category 2 Alto de Pulg Llorenca (8.8 per cent) it was world champion Alejandro Valverde who forced the pace, reducing the bunch to a select group of 20 riders.
As they took the final descent former Vuelta a Espana winner Fabio Aru slipped away in a group of six riders which would build an advantage of over 30 seconds on the chasers. With the line drawing closer, Movistar’s Nairo Quintana slipped away to claim a solo win with Aru sprinting home to fifth in the group of chasers five seconds behind.
Tadej Pogacar, the youngest rider in the race, came home at the head of the second group on the road to claim eighth, 37 seconds behind Quintana.
Aru said: “This morning I woke up with pain due to the fall yesterday, especially at the beginning of the race my knee was bothering me, then as the kilometers went by the situation improved.
“Also in the coming days the aftermath of the fall will be felt, but I will face them with an excellent morale that comes from today’s good performance. In the end I had some cramps as the day was very hot. Quintana made the perfect move to take the win.”
Monday’s Stage 3 should be a day for the sprinters with just two category three climbs and it will take the riders from Ciudad del Juguete to Alicante (188km).
Stage 2 results
1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
2 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sunweb
3 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma
5 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
1 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sunweb 5:26:12
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:02
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First 0:00:08
14 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:08
23 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:40
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