63rd Vuelta Ciclista a Asturias
Stage 1: Oviedo – Pola de Lena (184,5 km)
The day started cold, remained wet at times and ended with Daniel Viegas on the podium. The Portuguese rider of EOLO-KOMETA Cycling is the first leader of the classification of the metas volantes after a first stage of the Vuelta a Asturias in which he rode in the breakaway together with the Cantabrian José Manuel Gutiérrez. Escaped for more than one hundred kilometres, the cyclist from Faro passed first in the two ‘metas volantes’ (a kind of special sprint) programmed in the winding route, up to seven punctuated mountain climbs, which linked Oviedo with Pola de Lena.
It was the last climb, that of Carabanzo, where the race was selected. There, with a group of about twenty riders in command of the race, Nairo Quintana attacked to go solo and achieve sufficient income at the summit to win and be the first leader of the tour with a few seconds over Pierre Latour and a first group of ten riders. Lorenzo Fortunato (16th) and Francesco Gavazzi (17th) arrived in a second group, 1’32” behind.
Until then, a large part of the day was marked by the breakaway of Viegas and Gutiérrez, who reached a lead of four minutes. Viegas, with the points from the flying goal classification in his pocket, was unable to keep up with Gutiérrez on the demanding climb to La Colladona. Gutiérrez, alone, would hold on until La Cabaña.
“In the pre-race meeting we had set ourselves the objective of being present in the breakaway that could form in the first part of the race. The best defence is a good attack, so I tried to form the breakaway. I attacked a couple of times and in the second one both Gutiérrez and I were able to get away. We rode well, there was an understanding. He is a better climber and ended up leaving me in La Colladona, because I had spent a lot in the sections between climbs. The peloton was already fast and I had already made sure I was on the podium. It was better to save for the following days”, Viegas points out.
For this Saturday, the longest stage of this edition of the Vuelta a Asturias; also its queen day. A very broken first part, with many non-punctuated climbs, and a second that is complicated by the chain of several climbs of entity, although only Aristébano and Forcayao score, and the culmination of the ascent to the Santuario del Acebo as a mountain pass that is crowned with 16.5 km to go.