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Green jersey Groves wins second consecutive Vuelta stage

Green jersey Groves wins second consecutive Vuelta stage

Alpecin-Deceuninck’s Australian fastman Kaden Groves won his second consecutive stage of La Vuelta Ciclista a España on Wednesday, solidifying his lead in the green jersey points competition. Remco Evenepoel, who beat Groves at the day’s only intermediate sprint, kept the red jersey.

The Course

On the 186 km from Morella to Burriana, there was only one categorized climb, Cat. 2 Collado de la Ibola, but the route was by no means flat. A challenging run in to the finish meant that the sprint would be exciting.

The race hadn’t even cleared the neutralized zone at the start when Eddie Dunbar crashed out. Jayco-AlUla’s Irishman was seventh in this year’s Giro d’Italia.

There’s a certain kind of rider who is willing to be a lone escapee in a stage race, a long-odds optimist. On Wednesday, it was Uruguayan Eric Antonio Fagundez, flying both BH-Burgos’ purple flag and, because he’s only the third man from Uruguay to race the Vuelta, his country’s.

Fagundez: the loneliness of the long-distance fugitive.

Points jersey holder Kaden Groves’ Alpecin-Deceuninck was at the front of the peloton, with Soudal-Quick Step tucked in behind.

On Cat. 2 Collado de la Ibola, KOM leader Eduardo Sepúlveda dashed clear on the peloton in search of more points. He linked up with fellow South American Fagundez.

The South Americans lead the race on the only categorized climb.

The Argentinean dropped the Uruguayan and bolstered his KOM lead. They were hauled back soon after. Teams like Groupama-FDJ, Soudal-QuickStep, Ineos, UAE-Emirates and Jumbo-Visma all had their turns at the front of the mob.

The day’s intermediate sprint was situated 11 km from the finish line in Nules. The red jersey beat the green jersey in a show of strength, increasing his GC gap over Enric Mas to 11 seconds.

It was tense up to the 3-km-remaining point as the colour blocks got to work. Again, Soudal and Alpecin were prominent at the front. Immediately inside 3 km there was a crash on a left-hand curve. Groves went…

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