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Ruta del Sol: Grossschartner in the break, Hirt 21. on “queen stage”

Felix Grossschartner spent most of the day in the front and Jan Hirt completed the “queen stage” of Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol just outside the top 20.

Info: February 16th, Stage 2, Torredonjimeno – Alto Peña del Águila, Mancha Real (Jaén), 177,9km

Weather: Sunny

Course: mountainous, mountain top finish (Alto Valle Puerto Viejo (cat.1, 28,7km), Puero de Siete Pillas (cat. 2, 136,3km), Puerto de Torres (cat. 3, 166,1km), Alto Peña del Águila (cat.1, 177,8km, 4,8km of length and avg. 8,7%)

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After Sisr’s attempt in Tour of Oman, CCC Sprandi Polkowice managed to send its rider to the breakaway also in the Spanish race. Felix Grossschartner pulled away early and formed the day’s main escape together with Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Antonio Nibali (Bahrain Merida), Georg Preidler (Sunweb) and Xandro Meurisse (Wanty – Groupe Gobert). They recorded nearly 8 minutes of advantage.

Felix Grossschartner was one of the strongest riders in the break. Tim Wellens was setting very strong pace in the front and the young Austrian was able to stay with him the longest. He got dropped with 48km to go and 25km later was caught by the bunch.

The Belgian rider remained in the solo lead until 6km to go and got reeled in by a reduced bunch. Michal Schlegel, Jan Hirt and Łukasz Owsian were all in the main group, when it approached the final climb to Alto Peña del Águila. After yesterday’s solid debut by Schlegel, this time it was another Czech, Hirt who was the team’s top finisher, as he climbed to 21st at the top (1:39 back).

Alberto Contador launched a massive attack 2km from the top, quickly building a gap. He was digging deep to hold on to his lead, but it wasn’t enough for the stage victory. He got caught by Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) 200m before the line and the Frenchman could raised his arms in glory. Contador was 2nd and took over the overall lead. Leader jersey wearer, Valverde finished 3rd.

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