Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka got off to a good start in Vuelta a Burgos. Ben King impressed in the early breakaway as he won all the intermediate sprints and thereby got on the podium to get the blue jersey for leading the competition. The stage win went to Mikel Landa (Team Sky) after a late attack.
Already early on today’s opening stage, a strong break of 14 riders got away. The big group worked well together and quickly opened up a gap of over four minutes. King was very attentive and he won the first intermediate sprint after 37 km in front of Ibai Salas (Burgos-BH). The same scenario occurred at the second sprint and when King also proved to be the fastest rider at the third intermediate sprint, the blue jersey was already won after 58 km of riding.
As the front group took on the last 50 km of the stage, the gap started to come down. The pace in the peloton was very high and with just over 20 km left to go, it was all back together again. A few riders tried to break away but it wasn’t until the peloton started on the final ascent up to the finishing line for the first time that a decisive move happened. A quartet, including pre-race favorite Landa, broke free from the pack and even though several riders tried to bridge across, nobody managed to.
Landa won the stage, while Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Merhawi Kudus (19) and Igor Antón (23) finished in the select group of favorites just seven seconds down. Lachlan Morton crossed the line 30 seconds later after a courageous attack trying to catch the front group on the final kilometers.
“Yesterday, I asked Bingen [Fernández, sports director] how he felt about me going for the intermediate sprint jersey. I figured that some breakaway kilometers would be a great tune-up for the Vuelta. I got myself into a dangerous move of 14 riders and I managed to nab first in all three sprints. Then, when we got caught, I did my best to help place our GC guys in the right spot for the final. It was awesome to see the team riding so well together right before the Vuelta”.
— Team Dimension Data (@TeamDiData) August 1, 2017