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Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2015 Stage 1

photo credit @ Vuelta Pais Vasco 

Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) won the opening stage of this year’s Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco today, in a sprint finish ahead of Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick-Step).

Matthews was able to stay on terms with a series of attacks along the final climb of the day, as well as bold attempts during the closing kilometers of today’s stage, to emerge victorious in a sprint finish over the world champion.

Meanwhile, Ilnur Zakarin (Katyusha) rounded out the podium in third place.

Race Highlights

With less than 50 kilometers remaining, a small breakaway group containing Brian Bulgac (LottoNL-Jumbo), Omar Fraile (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), succeeded in riding clear of the peloton.

However, Bulgac was soon dropped from the trio, leaving Fraile and Turgis to forge ahead alone.

From there, Fraile managed to distance himself from his breakaway companion on the first climb of the Alto del Vivero.

Fraile continued to maintain his lead until he reached the second ascent of the Alto del Vivero, where he was swept up by the peloton during the final 17 kilometers.

Following the climb, the peloton proceeded to remain intact during the descent and final approach to Bilbao.

At that point, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) decided to mix things up a bit, but he was quickly neutralized by the peloton.

As the race headed into the final straight, Etixx – Quick Step seized control of the peloton – with the goal of setting up their man – Kwiatkowski.

However, as Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) countered, Matthews was able to exploit his move, and come around Kwiatkowski to claim the sprint victory.

photo credit @ Orica – GreenEdge 

Top 10 Finishers

1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 3:57:07
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step
3 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha
4 Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ.fr
5 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
6 Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
7 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
8 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro Team
9 Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step
10 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha

General classification after stage 1

1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 3:57:07
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step
3 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha
4 Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ.fr
5 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
6 Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
7 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
8 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro Team
9 Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step
10 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 

 

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