Vuelta 2019: Stage 2 – Quintana wins stage, Roche romps into red

After a full-on, salty-startin’, race-shakin’ Stage One team time trial, the second stage of Vuelta 2019 kept it siesta-inducing until a VERY spicy finale. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won the stage by 5 seconds and Nicolas Roche of Sunweb rode into red as the GC received the kind of shake up normally reserved for a monster mountain stage.

Following a brutal climb 30km from the stage finish, a group that consisted of Nairo Quintana, Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott), Fabio Aru (UAE), Nicolas Roche and Primoz Rolgic (Jumbo Visma) went clear on the flat-ish run in. 

The quintet gained an unbridgeable advantage. Behind, the chasing pack relied on the red-jerseyed Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) to do all the work. After the 3km banner, Quintana slipped away from his very select group and took the win with the rest coming over the line 5 seconds behind the little Colombian. Nicolas Roche was second and, thanks to bonus seconds, finds himself wearing the leader’s red jersey tonight.

Rider of the race

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It pains me to do this. I’ve spent the best part of five years saying he’s not all that, but today Nairo Quintana displayed all the qualities I love to see in a bike racer. He was powerful enough to take the Puig Llorenca climb in his stride. He had the awareness to be on the right side of the race-winning split and he was bold enough to stamp on the pedals and make the decisive move that won the race.

Yes, you read that right. After years of sitting on wheels and looking too afraid to try something, Nairo went for it. And guess what? It paid off. There’s a lesson there somewhere!

For me, it is a strange way to win, it is normal for me to win in mountain stages, but it was special, beautiful. I needed the team. We work in good harmony and if the work is done well the circumstances occur and the results come.

He probably also pleased the Movistar social media guy who had been expecting much more use of this GIF earlier this season.

So well done Nairo Quintana. I take it all back. For now.

What else occurred?

Winners:

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Primoz Roglic was 99th on GC this morning. Today he’s in the top ten.

Fabio Aru looked feisty and fresh today. After a couple of horrible years that is really pleasing to see.

Angel Madrazo of Burgos gets a reward for a day spent in the early breakaway. He’ll wear the KOM jersey for the wildcard team tomorrow.

Losers:

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Team Ineos are having a ‘mare. Tao Geoghegan Hart and Wout Poels came in nearly 10 minutes down today. Their GC game is over already and we haven’t even hit a mountain yet.

Sam Bennett of Bora hansgrohe lost touch with the peloton before the going got tough today. The Irishman was one of the sprinters to watch at this Vuelta but looked in a whole world of trouble.

Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) plummets down the GC after missing the move of the day. He looked isolated as he lead a half-hearted chase before leaning off the gas and realising it wasn’t going to be his day. All that work in the TTT yesterday has come to count for very little. He was 40 seconds ahead of Primoz Roglic on GC yesterday, now he’s just 3 seconds ahead.

Stage results

1 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 5:11:17

2 Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) +5 seconds

3 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) same time

4 Rigoberto Uran (EF-words-words-words) s/t

5 Fabio Aru (UAE) s/5

GC standings

1 Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) 5:26:12

2 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +0:02

3 Rigoberto Uran (EF-andallthat) +0:08

4 Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott) +0:22

5 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +0:33

6 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0.36

7 Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) +0:38

8 Sergio Higuita (EF-pleasedontmakemewriteitagain) +0:40

9 David Formolo (Bora Hansgrohe) +0:46

10 Rafal Majka (Bora Handgrohe) +0:46

 

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey: Nicolas Roche (Sunweb)

Points jersey: Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Climber’s jersey: Angel Madrazo (Burgos)

Young Rider’s jersey: Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)

Team classification: Astana

Official Vuelta website is here;  Full stage review from cyclingnews

Header image: © Tim de Waale Getty Images

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