- - Vuelta a España 2023 Stage 2

Vuelta a España 2023 Stage 2

photo credits @ La Vuelta 

Andreas Krön (Lotto Dstny) won stage 2 Vuelta a España in Barcelona today, following a chaotic and crash-marred climb along steep ramp to the top of Castell de Montjuic during the final three kilometers, with the Danish rider executing a plunging descent to claim the day’s honors  seven seconds ahead of a small chase group.

Meanwhile, Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) claimed the sprint for second place with Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën) rounding out the podium.

Additionally, buckling to rider and team pressure, race organizers announced that the general classification time was taken with 9 kilometers to go due to the weather making the loop around Montjuic too dangerous in the wet conditions.

Race Highlights

Today’s stage commensed on the first categorized climb of the Vuelta, the category 3 Coll de Sant Bartomeu, allowing Andrea Piccolo (EF Education-EasyPost), Matteo Sobrero (Jayco AlUla), Javier Romo (Astana Qazaqstan) and Joal Nicolau (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) to breakaway form the peloton. But, soon the quartet became a quintet thanks to the successful chase of Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH).

Being only six seconds down on the race lead meant Piccolo was a significant threat to the red jersey-carrying Team DSM, who took up the responsibility for keeping the break within arm’s reach. Their strong efforts on the front of the bunch prevented the lead from going much beyond two minutes at any point on the stage. On the second categorized climb, the inland Coll d’Estanelles, the points were fiercely contested by Romo and Sobrero, with the Italian rider taking the points needed to level the score in the mountains competition and ultimately claim the polka dot jersey by virtue of his higher placing on the harder climb.

Trouble and trepidation on the descent as 15 punctures were recorded in the peloton, including to GC contenders Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) and Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) who was shepherded back to the bunch in his own time. Delays also took the pressure off the breakaway, which was able to pick its lines, find the dry spots and restore their two minute-plus advantage.

The excitement began in the final third of the stage as the race took on the lumpy the run-in back to Barcelona. Higher pressure combined with road furniture and tight corners brought about a few crashes, including one involving Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) who slipped on road markings off of a roundabout, while Oscar Onley (DSM-firmenich) who had been thought a potential stage winner, was the second rider to abandon due to illness.

As the rain began to fall harder, the breakaway began to break up 45 kilometers from the finish. Bol and Nicolau went backwards, leaving only the WorldTour riders up the road. Sobrero was the next rider to pull the pin. There being two effective finish lines meant Piccolo could set his sights on the red jersey, without needing to take the stage to claim it.

The catch came at just the right time for Piccolo and Romo, who had enough of a lead at the steps of Montjuic to go into first and second overall respectively. That was also the point that the main favourites agreed to part company with the stage hunting teams, who were left to fight it out among themselves.

A well-timed move from Kron on the category three Montjuic climb opened up an immediate lead that none of the others could stay with. He carried clear air over the top and swept down towards the finish, taking risks on the descent which, while drying, was still damp and patchy.

Under the flamme rouge, the remaining chasers of 30 or so riders were a long way back and left sprinting for minor places. Despite the enormous effort he had made, Kron was able to cross the line, and cross himself while looking up towards the sky.

Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was the best of the rest as he managed to grab six bonus seconds on the line ahead of Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroen), who took four seconds.

As result of today’s standings, Piccolo will wear the red leader’s jersey on stage three, with an eleven second lead over Javier Romo. Piccolo is also the new leader of the young rider’s competition with Romo, 24, wearing the white jersey on his behalf. Andreas Kron now leads the points competition outright thanks to his victory.

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