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Vuelta a Espana: Soler wins stage two as Froome falls further behind


Spain’s Marc Soler broke clear of the main contenders on the Vuelta a Espana’s second stage for a solo win into Lekunberri.

A year on from being denied a first Grand Tour win following controversial team orders, Soler was not held back on this occasion when he broke on the final climb of the 151kilometre stage and could not be caught on the ride into the finish.

Soler’s teammate Alejandro Valverde, ahead of what is his 14th Vuelta, remarked that Movistar needed to ride the Vuelta like it was a series of one-day Classics and Soler’s teammates did exactly that.


Clearly with a view to the stage win, they drove the pace of the race for much of its latter stages rather than the teammates of overall leader Primoz Roglic, Jumbo-Visma, as expected.

Soler then broke up the final climb and kept enough of an advantage on the road to win with time to spare.

(AFP via Getty Images)

It was in stark contrast to stage nine at last year’s Vuelta when Soler had gone clear and looked on course for a potential win only be told to drop back to support team leader Nairo Quintana.

Soler had remonstrated angrily in front of the watching cameras before later apologised. Twelve months on, there was to be no repeat, the 26-year-old left to his own devices to the line.

Once again, though, Roglic marked himself out as the peloton’s most in-form rider as he outsprinted the leading contenders to cross the line in second place and earn himself six more valuable bonus seconds in the general classification in the process.

It leaves him nine seconds ahead of Ireland’s Dan Martin, who again rode strongly to finish the stage in third while Ineos Grenadiers’ team leader Richard Carapaz remains in third after crossing the line on the wheel of Martin.

England’s Hugh Carthy now lies sixth overall after two stages after the EF Pro Cycling stayed with the leading GC contenders to the death.

Chris Froome, though, once more finished well back down the road, nearly 19 minutes off the pace.

(AP)

At the start of the day after losing 11 minutes on the leaders on stage one, he had written on social media: “Baptism of fire for the first day back in a Grand Tour since my crash.

“La Vuelta knows how to dish out pain. All part of the process in getting back. Look forward to the fight over the next three weeks.”


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