The 2nd stage of the Vuelta a Espana saw a bunch sprint decide the outcome in San Fernando with Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) claiming the first road stage victory. The tough and technical finish saw John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) cross the line in 2nd with Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) taking the final podium spot. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had Gerald Ciolek mixing it up in the sprint and finishing in 11th place.
There was much to be pleased about for Africa’s team though as the first breakaway of this years Vuelta contained no less than 2 MTN-Qhubeka riders. Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Kristian Sbaragli both got into the early move that formed on the opening cat 3 climb of the day, this was the team plan all along for these two riders and so it was positive to tick off another box early on in the race.
With the break established, the fight was on for the King of the Mountains jersey up the Alto del Cabrito climb as it was the only Classified climb of the day. In the sprint at the top, Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) just pipped our Sbaragli for the honours.
After the summit Haas and Sbaragli sat up while Janse van Rensburg pressed on with 3 other escapees into the scorching heat of the day. Janse van Rensburg was clearly the stronger of the quartet made up by Valerio Conti (Lampre – Merida), Romain Hardy (Cofidis) and Javier Armendia (Caja-Rural) as he drove the pace really hard upfront all day, and would eventually, after leading the race for 150km’s, be the last rider to get caught. FDJ.fr had a superior leadout to any other team on the day and were able to deliver Bouhanni to the line first.
For a comprehensive stage breakdown by our DS, Jens Zemke, please click here: audio