Five stages down, five different leaders of the race and the first not from Jumbo Visma. This was a tough stage that would have left riders new to the Vuelta wondering how in the heck some of those climbs that featured yesterday were unclassified – they looked hard enough even on TV to get a rating.
It was good to see Soler get a win for a brave attack that almost came to nought, and had the chasers not hesitated when he was just within reach we might have had a different race leader in Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious). The British rider was impressive at the Tour and again here, just missing out on the stage and the coveted red jersey. In the end it was Rudy Mollard who took the GC lead for the second time in his career.
Let’s start with Fred’s reaction first:
ROBER GESINK (Jumbo Visma)
“It [the leader’s jersey] brings a lot of extra obligations. I know that from my own experience. To wear the leader’s jersey is an honour. However, you won’t have much time to celebrate because of your podium duties and interviews with the media. The Vuelta lasts three weeks. It’s important to have the red jersey on the last day.
“Congratulations to them [the breakaway riders]. They rode away with a big group. There was a lot of anticipation because it took eighty kilometres before a good group got away. I think everyone knew what was at stake today. The breakaway group established a comfortable lead and battled for the race win and the lead in the overall classification. We controlled the race. In this regard, our group is more than capable. We can save energy in the coming days because we no longer have the leader’s jersey. Even though we have to stay sharp to control the classification.”
FAUSTO MASNADA (Quickstep Alpha Vinyl, who was in the break)
“Tuesday was the worst day of my career, and I was extremely motivated today to leave that stage behind and show myself. It wasn’t easy, because we fought for more than an hour before a breakaway took off, but I gave my best there. On one hand, I am disappointed because I didn’t get a better result for the team, but this solid ride makes me more confident for the next stages, so there is a bright side after today.”