Philippe Gilbert claimed this year’s Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia today, after winning a high speed sprint ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) by a couple of bike lengths, while Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) nixed Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) to grab third spot on the podium.
The day’s breakaway group containing Sander Helven (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Miguel Angel Benito (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Artem Ovechkin (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Kleber Ramos (Funvic Soul Cycles – Carrefour), Benat Txoperena Matxikote (Euskadi Basque Country) and Kamil Gradek (Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team), succeeded in riding clear of the peloton early on in today’s race.
From there, the sextet managed to build up a massive lead of eight minutes over the peloton. But, after 107 kilometers of racing, the challenging climb of the category 3 Alto de Aledo, reduced their advantage to just under three minutes.
Not long after, the equally challenging climb of the Bermejo erased the breakaway group’s lead to nothing, bringing the peloton back together.
Movistar then took over the pace-setting at the front, subsequently shattering the peloton, and allowing a group of about 20 riders to go clear.
Amongst the lead group, was BMC’s Tejay van Garderen, who attacked along the final climb of category 3 Cresta del Gallo, quickly opening up a slight gap of 10 seconds during the final 13 kilometers.
However, the American rider’s time out front was short-lived, but it did managed to give his teammates the impetus they needed to move Gilbert into perfect position.
Indeed, BMC’s Ben Hermans led the group into the final few hundred meters, while Gilbert followed in his slipstream. And, from there, the former Belgian world champion surged, leaving his rivals unable to counter his move.
Top 20 Finishers
1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 5:02:19
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
3 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha
4 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
5 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:04
6 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team 0:00:15
7 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:18
8 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:05
9 Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:01:06
10 Víctor De La Parte (Spa) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 0:01:09
11 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar Team
12 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:06
13 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team
14 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team
15 Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
16 Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskadi-Basque Country
17 Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing Team
18 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:04:23
19 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team
20 Pawel Cieslik (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team 0:05:06
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