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Nairo Quintana wins thrilling Stage 2 of the Vuelta a España

Nicolas Roche takes over race lead from isolated Angel Lopez

Sunday’s second stage of the Vuelta a España was an engrossing one, with Nairo Quintana earning his second career win by attacking a late breakaway. Angel Lopez (Colombia/Astana) found himself isolated in the hilly final quarter of the stage and lost his red leader’s jersey to Irishman Nicolas Roche of Sunweb. It’s the second time Roche has led the Vuelta, the first time back in 2013 when he was with Saxo-Tinkoff.

The Course

Typical of recent Vueltas, there were proper hills in the second stage, with a Cat. 2 soon after the start. Near the end of the 199.6 km from Benidorn to Calpe, organizers had placed another Cat. 2, the Alto de Puig Llorença, 2.9 km of 9.9 percent.


A quartet of fugitives is a regular sized breakaway for the first road stage of a Grand Tour. Angel Madrazo of the purple-clad, wildcard Burgos-BH squad climbed into the virtual mountains jersey by cresting Cat. 2 Puerto de Confrides and Cat. 3 Alto de Benilloba first.

Alto de Puig Llorença

The last of the escapees was swept up just before the short, steep Puig Llorença climb. Pierre Latour, Davide Formolo and George Bennett skipped away on the first ramps. Lopez, Quintana, Alejandro Valverde, and Primoz Roglic joined the move. Valverde led a strong group over the top.

Twenty-four lumpy kilometres remained. Roglic, Mikel Nieve, Rigoberto Uran, Quintana, Roche and Fabio Aru dashed away from Lopez. Isolated, Lopez got a little panicky and led the chase himself. With 12-km to go, the gap was 21-seconds.

Quintana attacked when he sensed a lack of cohesion and led solo under the red kite.

The Colombian 2016 titlist held tough to win by five seconds and is in arrears of Roche by two seconds on GC. It was Quintana’s eighth Grand Tour stage win and his second of the season.

It was a bad day for Steven Kruijswijk, but an even worse day for Ineos’ protected riders, as Wout Poels and Tao Geoghegan Hart finished almost ten minutes behind.

2019 Vuelta a España Stage 2

1) Nairo Quintana (Colombia/Movistar) 5:11:17
2) Nicolas Roche (Ireland/Sunweb) +0:05
3) Primoz Roglic (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) s.t.

2019 Vuelta a España GC
1) Nicolas Roche (Ireland/Sunweb) 5:26:12
2) Nairo Quintana (Colombia/Movistar) +0:02
3) Rigoberto Uran (Colombia/EF Education First) +0:08
4) Mikel Nieve (Spain/Mitchelton-Scott) +0:22
5) Angel Lopez (Colombia/Astana) +0:33
6) Primoz Roglic (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) +0:36