Superior Rafal Majka finishes off dominant BORA – hansgrohe team work to take a first stage win in La Vuelta.
Even once again a break went away in the beginning of the stage, this time the peloton decided to chase them hard. But both BORA – hansgrohe riders in front, Rafal Majka and Patrick Konrad, were keen to defend their lead with a proper fight. On the final 10k Rafal Majka went for a solo, to finish off perfectly the hard work from Patrick Konrad, and take the first BORA – hansgrohe stage win in this year’s Vuelta.
Two crucial mountain stages await the peloton before the second rest day of the Vuelta. The first one, today’s 14th stage of the race, between Écjia and the Sierra de la Pandera. The parcours was, beginning at just 120m above sea level, all the way uphill, covering one third and one second category climb, before hitting the final ascent, 12k long, to the Sierra in 1820m.
A day for the climbers, and therefore also for BORA – hansgrohe’s Rafal Majka. Majka should try everything today to breakaway form the peloton early in the stage and take full advantage of his climbing abilities on the final ascent. So, the support of the whole team was his today.
After an intense start with lots of attacks, a group of ten riders went clear from the bunch. For BORA – hansgrohe an ideal situation as the team had with Rafal Majka and Patrick Konrad two riders in the breakaway group. In the peloton, once again Team Sky controlled the pace, which allowed the break to build an advantage of more than 4 minutes after 35 kilometers of racing.
Until the first KOM of the day the gap increased to about 7:30, but then Astana, Bahrain-Merida and Trek-Segafredo set a hard peace in the peloton. Immediately the advantage of the break started to melt down, while Konrad and Majka tried to hang on their lead in the front. On the second climb of the day, also Katusha started to work in the bunch and the gap came down to 2:30.
But BORA – hansgrohe was not ready yet to bury their hopes. First Patrick Konrad attacked, to raise the pace and prepare a counter attack from Rafal Majka. Then, a superior Majka went for 10k solo, holding off all GC Contenders on the final climb, to take a confident first stage win for BORA – hansgrohe in this year’s La Vuelta.
“I am so happy! But not just for me, also for my team BORA – hansgrohe. In the beginning of this Vuelta we suffered a lot, when the whole team had some stomach virus. My GC hopes were gone after just a few stages. But we all kept on fighting, never surrendered. With three podiums, we already had some strong results, but finally we got the win we wanted so desperately. Patrick did an amazing job today, and I knew I had to go early with all the big guys chasing behind. But my legs were really good today and I could control the race from the front on the last 10k. In the end I took this important win for my team BORA – hansgrohe. Now, with my legs finally coming good, I will try to take another stage in this very tough last week of the Vuelta.” – Rafal Majka
“What a race, what a performance from the team! It was close till the end, but Rafal was really strong today. After a very hard start for us in this Vuelta, the whole team kept on fighting every day, now all the efforts finally payed off. We knew that today was a good chance for Rafal, and everybody worked hard for this win. Patrick did a stellar job today, always reacting in the right way, to prepare Rafal final move.” – André Schulze, sportlicher Leiter