Bouhanni Wins Stage 8 of Vuelta a Espana
Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) has taken his second stage of this year’s Vuelta a Espana. The Frenchman charged into the lead in the last 300 m to win Stage 8, a flat, 207-km run from Baeta to Albacete, in 4:29:00. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) finished second, and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) took third. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) remains the race leader.
Elia Favilli (Lampre-Merida) and Francisco Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) made the early escape. The duo’s lead maxed out at 7:14 at 30 km before the peloton began to peg it. Eventually, FDJ.fr and Giant-Shimano began to chase, and the escapees’ lead had narrowed to about five minutes midway through the stage.
With 50 km remaining, one minute separated the bunch from the break. Eighteen km later, the peloton was together.
Wind played its part in the stage’s end. Sky led the bunch into the last 25 km. Tinkoff-Saxo Bank, Trek, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, and Belkin joined the British squad at the front, and echelons formed. Most of the GC contenders and sprinters were in the first group, but Nairo Quintana (Movistar), John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano), and Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) were 0:30 behind in the second. BMC hammered at the front, but the second group merged with the first.
Giant-Shimano led the field into the final 2.5 km. Orica-GreenEdge and Cannondale joined the Dutch squad. With 300 m left, Bouhanni made his move. Matthews struggled to close the gap, but the FDJ.fr man fought him off. Sagan closed fast to finish third.
In the overall, Valverde leads Quintana by 0:15 and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) by 0:18. Tomorrow, the Vuelta will return to the mountains. Stage 9, a 185-km ride from Carboneras de Guadazaon to Aramon Valdelinares, will take the riders over a Category 3 ascent and a Category 2 climb before the peloton tackles a Category 1 rise to the finish? Who will win? Valverde? Froome? Contador? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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