Benidorm (Spain): After the disappointment of a high-speed crash on Saturday, UAE Team Emirates featured heavily in the closing kilometres of the Vuelta a Espana Stage 2 from Benidorm to Calpe.
A group of four riders moved away in the early stages but would be reeled in as the peloton neared the final ascent. When the riders crested the final climb of the Category 2 Alto de Pulg Llorenca it was world champion Alejandro Valverde who forced the pace, reducing the bunch to a select group of 20 riders.
As they took the final descent former Vuelta winner and UAE Team Emirates cyclist Fabio Aru slipped away in a group of six riders which would build an advantage of over 30 seconds on the chasers. With the line drawing closer it was Nairo Quintana (Movistar) who claimed a solo win with Aru sprinting home to fifth in the group of chasers five seconds behind.
UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogacar, the youngest rider in the race, came home at the head of the second group on the road to claim eighth, 37 seconds behind Quintana.
“This morning I woke up with pain due to the fall yesterday, especially at the beginning of the race my knee was bothering me, then as the kilometres went by the situation improved,” said Aru. “Also in the coming days the aftermath of the fall will be felt, but I will face them with an excellent morale that comes from today’s good performance. In the end I had some cramps as the day was very hot. Quintana made the perfect move to take the win”.