Dubai: UAE Team Emirates rider Rui Costa took third place in Stage 6 of the Vuelta a Espana, late on Sunday.
The Portuguese rider, who turned 34 earlier this month, ended 25 seconds behind eventual stage the winner Ion Izagirre of Astana Pro Team.
On a stage marked by constant rain, 24 brave souls made the day’s main breakaway. Among the men in front, Costa and Colombian Sergio Henao were present for UAE Team Emirates.
Climbing into the Pyrenees, the breakaway got the better of the chasing peloton, thus giving the attackers the chance to fight for stage success.
In addition to Costa’s third place, UAE Team Emirates also got a second name in the top 10 of the stage when Henao slipped into ninth position, 55 seconds behind Spain’s Gorka Izagirre Insausti of the Astana Pro Team.
There was further good news for UAE Team Emirates as David De La Cruz, 17th at the finish line and 1.23 minutes behind the leader, gained three positions in the General Classification to climb up into ninth place, and remain 2.46 minutes away from the new red jersey holder, Richard Carapaz of Ineos-Grenadiers.
UAE also lie second in the Teams’ Classification heading into the second week of the third and final major of the season.
“Today, it wasn’t originally the plan for me to go in the breakaway. Henao got in the break originally and then I was covering the moves behind and ended up in it also,” Costa said. “The sensations were good, but just a little bit tired from yesterday. I’ll be looking at the parcours for more chances later in the race. De La Cruz is also moving up the General Classification, and that means we will need to keep that as well in our focus,” he added.
Meanwhile, UAE Team Emirates Brandon McNulty had a successful end to his Grand Tour debut when the American rider ended in eighth overall as the Giro d’Italia concluded in Milan late on Sunday.
Held as a time trial over a distance of 15.7km between Cernusco sul Naviglio and Milan, McNulty used the flat course to the maximum to complete his test in 18.02 minutes, a clear 46 seconds adrift of stage winner Filippo Ganna of the Ineos-Grenadiers team.
McNulty’s placement in the top-10 adds to the two stage wins achieved by UAE Team Emirates through Diego Ulissi.
In the general classification, the American from UAE Team Emirates closed his first experience in a Grand Tour in 15th place and 38.10 minutes from new Giro d’Italia champion Tao Geoghegan Hart of the Ineos-Grenadiers team.
“Today went off well for me. My legs were really, really tired, but I just gave everything I had left and I’m happy with another top 10 result,” McNulty said.
“Overall I’m very happy with my Grand Tour debut. Four top-10s and a respectable General Classification result is really nice, and I hope to be able to keep improving over the years.”
Vuelta a Espana Stage 6
1. Ion Izagirre (Astana) 3h41’00”
2. Michael Woods (Ef) +25s
3. Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) same time
1. Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers) 24h34’39”
2. Hugh Carthy (Ef) +18s
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +20s
9. David De La Cruz (UAE Team Emirates) + 2’46”
Giro d’Italia Stage 21
1. Filippo Ganna (Ineos-Grenadiers) 17’16”
2. Victor Campenaerts (NTT) +32s
3. Rohan Dennis (Ineos-Grenadiers) same time
8. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) +46s
1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos-Grenadiers) 85h40’21”
2. Jai Hindley (Sunweb) +39s
3. Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) +1’29”
15. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) + 38’10”