Vuelta A Espana: Stage 8, Results
(Road Bike Action & AFP; Photo: Bettini)
Belgian Jasper Stuyven took victory on the eighth stage of Spain’s Vuelta on a day dominated by high-profile crashes. Ireland’s Dan Martin, who was lying third in the overall classification overnight, and American Tejay van Garderen were forced to withdraw from the race after suffering a heavy crash 50km from the finish. Stuyven edged a sprint finish to the line from Spain’s Pello Bilbao and Frenchman Kevin Reza to claim the 182.5km stage from Puebla de Don Fadrique to Murcia in a time of 4hr 06min 06sec.
Colombian Esteban Chaves finished in the leading group to maintain his overall lead by 10 seconds from Tom Dumoulin with Irishman Nicholas Roche a further 26 seconds behind in third. Britain’s Chris Froome, who is aiming to become just the third man to win the Tour de France and the Vuelta in the same year, moves into 11th overall, 1min 22sec behind Chaves.
One of the favorites for the stage, France’s Nacer Bouhanni, also had to withdraw due to injuries suffered in the crash involving Martin and Van Garderen. Stage three winner Peter Sagan’s hopes of another victory were ruined by a crash with a support vehicle, but the Slovakian was at least able to finish the stage despite suffering significant cuts and bruises to his left leg. Stuyven and Chaves were also affected by the major crash as the peloton split just before the first of two climbs of the category three Alto de la Cresta del Gallo.
“I didn’t stay clear of the crashes. I was in the big one which Chaves was also in before the first big climb. I hit my wrist pretty bad, but I jumped on the bike again and climbed back,” said Stuyven. “I suffered a lot on the first climb and then the second time I knew I had to start at the front so I could drift a little bit back if it was going to be hard. In the sprint I felt ‘I’ll go at 300 (meters from the finish)’ and it was for me today.”
Chaves was led back into the peloton by his Orica GreenEdge team to ensure his hopes of landing a surprising first Grand Tour victory among a stellar field remained intact. “Normally when you look on the race book it is an easy day, but it was really hard, really fast, dangerous and with a lot of crashes,” he said. “The team stayed with me to put me back in the peloton. It was really fast with a small dangerous climb and descent, but I am happy to again be in the red jersey.”