Quick-Step Floors dominated stage 2 of the 72nd La Vuelta through the wind. Yves Lampaert found an opening in the final kilometre to the finish line set at Gruissan. He snatched the victory just ahead of the sprinters… led by his teammate Matteo Trentin ahead of Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport). The two riders from Quick-Step Floors also lead the general classification, with Daniel Oss (BMC) 3rd. Lampaert delivers the 17th La Vuelta stage victory for his team and is the first Belgian rider to lead GC since Philippe Gilbert in 2010.
The 198 riders who tackled La Vuelta with Saturday’s team time-trial also took the start of stage 2 from Nîmes. A few of them went for early attacks but the bunch quickly controlled these attempts and the bunch then stuck together most of the day.
With more than 200km of racing on seaside, leaders were wary of echelons and many teams spent the stage trying to maintain themselves in the front positions and avoid any slip-up. That fight set a high pace for the race: 46.3km were covered in the first hour, with already significant crosswinds.
The situation heated up in the final 75km. Trek-Segafredo first tried to build echelons but didn’t succeed. Right after that move, Chris Froome (Sky) suffered a puncture but quickly came back to the peloton with the help of his teammates. 10 km later, a crash involving a dozen of riders put an end to La Vuelta for Javier Moreno (Bahrain-Merida) and Anass Ait El Abdia (UAE Team Emirates).
The bunch kept going with a very hard pace that eventually tore the peloton into pieces. Quick-Step Floors eventually put the hammer down in the final 5km to open the door for Yves Lampaert.