Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana: Antunes strong in hilly terrain

Amaro Antunes proved his climbing potential on stage 2 of Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, finishing in the main, chasing group, with some GC contenders. He lost only 19 seconds to stage winner, Alejandro Valverde.

Info: Stage 2, February 1st, Bétera – Albuixech, 153,9km

Course: hilly (three cat. 3 and two cat. 1, flat finale)

With the hilly profile and 5 categorized climbs on the menu, it had been expected that peloton doesn’t arrive at the finish together. Demanding terrain and strong pace in the field was supposed to make the selection.

But before the decisive attacks were launched, a 5-man breakaway, which didn’t include CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders, went clear. They opened up 6-minute lead in first half of the race, but were brought back in on the final climb of the day, cat. 1 to El Garbi. That ascent also saw a decisive move being launched. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) pulled away and in the downhill were joined by Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana). Amaro Antunes felt comfortably on the climb, as he was able to stay with the shattered, 22-man chasing group, led by Team Sky.

The trio opened up 30-second lead and held on until the finish. Fuglsang was the lead-out man for his teammate, but Valverde had none of it. He sprinted to victory and GC lead. Sanchez was 2nd and Fuglsang 3rd.

Antunes came in with other GC favorites, finishing in  22nd place, 19 seconds behind the winner. After his good performance, he moved up to 11th overall.

The team supported me very well throughout the entire day. I’m very happy about my sensations on those decisive climbs, as I could keep up with some of the top riders in the world. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s team time trial and stage 4 with an uphill finish – Antunes said afterwards.