Ruta del Sol: Koch and Tratnik in top 10 to open the race

Two “riders in orange” sprinted into top 10 on stage 1 of Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol – Jonas Koch was the fastest of CCC Sprandi Polkowice, taking 7th

Info: Stage 1, February 14th,  Mijas (Malaga)  –  Grenada, 197,6km

Course: hilly, six categorized climbs (3x3cat, 2x2cat, 1x1cat)

The opening stage saw an early breakaway getting formed on the first climb of the day, cat. 3 Alto de la Malaha. 5 escapees reached the top in the lead, while CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders – Amaro Antunes, Jonas Koch, Jan Tratnik, Kamil Gradek, Łukasz Owsian, Patryk Stosz and Marko Kump – were riding safely in the peloton.

The biggest gap of the day was recorded on the longest ascent of the stage, cat.1 Puerto de Zafaraya, when the clock stopped at 5:25. The peloton was not too worried about the leading riders and caught them all within final 20km. The last one to get reeled in was Silvan Dillier (AG2R-La Mondiale), who return to the bunch with 12km remaining.

Despite few attempts late in the race, it was all decided in a bunch sprint. CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders did well in the finale, as they were looking for a good position and eventually two of them finished inside top 10. Jonas Koch was 7th and Jan Tratnik 10th.

Even though we got two spots in top 10, I think we can still do better. In the end there was some little misunderstanding and eventually we both had to do our own sprints, without a lead out. I think that we still need some more races together to improve communication late in the race. When we figure it out we will be able to get very nice results, because we are very well prepared and the legs are there – Jan Tratnik said after the stage.

Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie) claimed the stage win ahead of Sacha Modolo (Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) and Clement Venturini (AG2R La Mondiale).