Juan José Lobato (Movistar) attacked out of a small group to win stage 1 of Vuelta a Burgos.
The front of the field had been pared down to about 15 riders as the technical final kilometer stair-stepped and twisted its way through Burgos.
Lobato made his winning move on the last right-hand corner, within a few hundred meters of the line. The Movistar rider exploded up the outside of the curve on the final rise, rolling across the finish with enough time to celebrate.
“It’s true that not many people were counting me in for the win, but I was confident I could fight for it,” said Lobato. “… I knew that if I felt well during the stage, I could give it a try. I already told my teammates at the pre-race talk I could do it. … We had planned to take control of the race so there weren’t any big breaks — Erviti and Plaza were up front all day and the rest protected Nairo.
“I worked out my distance to attack from the finish into the first climb — I was confident I could keep a strong pace if I jumped away with 300 meters to go. I might have relaxed a bit when I saw I had won, but the goal was achieved. … This victory is a tribute to my friend David, a big fan of cycling who used to come by at my hometown and passed away just hours before coming to this race.”
The first stage was a 143km loop that started and finished in Burgos.
Just four kilometers into the stage, Luis Mas Bonet (Caja Rural), Mirko Tedeschi (Neri Sottoli), Ibai Salas (Burgos-BH), and Victor Etxebarria (Euskadi) broke from the peloton and began a long ride at the front of the race. The foursome quickly built a lead of 25 seconds, which increased to one minute and then to 2:00. At one point, they had a 3:00 advantage over the peloton.
The main pack, however, refused to lengthen the leash any further. The buffer between the two groups began falling in the second half of the stage, and with just under 30km left it was down to 1:00.
As the break splintered, Bonet and Tedeschi were left alone at the front.
With 11 kilometers remaining, the catch was made, and Sébastien Turgot (AG2R La Mondiale) counterattacked as the peloton climbed through a small town.
Turgot extended his lead on the descent, but remained close to the field — close enough for Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) to bridge up to him.
At that point, with 7.6 kilometers remaining, the duo held a scant advantage of five seconds.
After a few kilometers together, Tiralongo went solo and was soon joined by another opportunist, Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural).
The duo still remained tantalizingly close to the front of the field. Giorgio Cecchinel (Neri Sottoli) was the next rider to try his luck, bridging to the leaders from the peloton with four kilometers remaining.
However, the young Italian wasn’t there for long. With 3.5km remaining, Aramendia attacked, and Tiralongo followed.
Despite their best efforts, the leaders were caught with one kilometer to go, as the peloton charged into Castillo.
Katusha rode the front for most of the final kilometer, a rough, technical climb through the town. The front group was quickly whittled down to about 15 riders.
Lobato was patient in the finale, and made the final, decisive attack on the last of several steep rises, swinging wide around the final corner.
Daniel Moreno (Katusha) finished second, and Giant-Shimano’s Thomas Damuseau finished third.
Fifth place finisher Jonathan Fumeaux (IAM) said, “The stage proved to be very nervous. There was a lot of wind and many changes in direction. It was therefore really important to remain well positioned at all times, especially in the finale where we had a little [one] kilometer climb that we had to do twice.”
The race continues Thursday with stage 2, a 152 kilometer ride from Briviesca to Villadiego.