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With a perfectly timed an powerful sprint up the Alto del Castillo, Lobato held off Daniel Moreno to win the first stage and take the first leader’s jersey in the Vuelta a Burgos

Photo: Sirotti

DANIEL MORENO

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JUAN JOSE LOBATO

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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THOMAS DAMUSEAU

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VUELTA A BURGOS 

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13.08.2014 @ 17:33 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) again proved that uphill sprints have become a specialty for him when he took an impressive win in today’s opening stage of the Vuelta a Burgos. On the category 3 climb of Alto del Castillo, he timed his move to perfection and easily held off Daniel Moreno (Katusha) and Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r) to take his second win of the season and the first leader’s jersey in the race.

 

A few weeks ago Juan Jose Lobato launched a very impressive uphill sprint to win a stage of the Tour de Wallonie and today he again proved that he is one of the strongest rider in that kind of finales. The Movistar sprinter proved to be in a class of his own when the first stage of the Vuelta a Burgos came down to the expected sprint on the category 3 Alto del Castillo.

 

Katusha had done a lot of work to set up Daniel Moreno for another win on the climb after the Spaniard had won the similar stage two years ago. Alexandr Kolobnev gave his teammate the perfect lead-out but Moreno had no response when Lobato launched a powerful move to fly past everyone else and cruise across the line. Moreno was the only rider who could remotely keep up with the Movistar sprinter as Lloyd Mondory lost 3 seconds in third place.

 

The 5-day race which is traditionally one of the most important preparation races for the Vuelta aEspana kicked off with a 143km stage starting and finishing in Burgos. The first part of the stage was almost completely flat and only offered a small category 3 climb. The finale, however, was a tricky one as the riders went up the Alto del Castillo to the finish before doing a small 12km finishing circuit that again ended on the climb.

 

Everybody expected the stage to be firmly controlled and so there was no great battle to get into the early break. Already after 2km of racing, Lluis Mas (Caja Rural), Mirko Tedeschi (Neri Sottoli), Ibai Salas (Burgos) and Victor Etxeberria (Euskadi) attacked and they quickly built up a solid advantage.

 

At the 10km mark, they were 2.15 ahead and that advantage had been extended to 3.00 at the 45km mark. However, Movistar had now taken control of the peloton, with Imanol Erviti and Ruben Plaza riding on the front to keep the gap stable around the 3-minute mark.

 

After around 100km of racing, Plaza and Erviti upped the pace and with 55km to go, they had brought the gap down to just 2.0. 5km further up the road it was only 1.35 which prompted them to slow down and allow the gap to grow back up to 2.10.

 

Plaza and Erviti went back to work and with 25km to go, the gap was only 1.00. The battle for position had now started as the windy conditions were regarded as a possible threat.

 

With 19km to go, the gap was only 45 seconds and this prompted Mas to launch an attack. Only Tedeschi could keep up with him and the pair reached the bottom of the Alto del Castillo with a 20-second advantage.

 

Surprisingly, Tedeschi’s Neri Sottoli teammates hit the front while Mas struggled to keep up with the Italian on the climb. Sebastien Turgot (Ag2r) launched a strong attack on the slopes and passed both the early escapees before flying down the descent.

 

Turgot fought hard to stay clear while Neri Sottoli continued to lead the chase. With 7.7km to go, Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) bridged the gap and the two escapees started to cooperate well.

 

With 5km to go, Turgot blew up but instead Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural) bridged the gap to Tiralongo. 1km further up the road, Giorgio Cecchinel (Neri Sottoli) joined the front duo but both he and Tiralongo fell off the pace just as the junction was made.

 

Tiralongo dug deep to rejoin Aramendia but Katusha had now taken control of the peloton and just as they passed the flamme rouge, the Russian team had brought it back together. Kolobnev hit the front to lead Moreno out but it was Thomas Damuseau (Giant-Shimano) who launched the sprint.

 

Lobato powered past the Frenchman and quickly got a big gap. Moreno tried to respond but the 2012 winner of the stage was never close to passing his rival and had to settle for second while Mondory finished 3rd.

 

With no bonus seconds in the race, Lobato is equal on time with Moreno and will wear the leader’s jersey in tomorrow’s second stage. The riders will tackle a category 2 climb in the first part of the stage but from there the roads are completely flat on the very windy plains in the Burgos province.

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