Vuelta 2018 Stage 2: Valverde wins, Kwiatkowski new leader

The Vuelta a España's 2nd stage travels on rolling to hilly roads to an uphill finish near the Caminito del Rey. Alejandro Valverde and Michal Kwiatkowski attack in the last 500 metres. While the Spaniard wins the sprint, the Pole is the new leader on GC. Richie Porte and Vincenzo Nibali lose minutes. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results 2nd stage 2018 Vuelta a España

1. Alejandro Valverde (spa)
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (pol) s.t.
3. Laurens De Plus (bel) + 0.03
4. Wilco Kelderman (nld) s.t.
5. George Bennett (NZL) s.t.
6. Tony Gallopin (fra) s.t.
7. Emanuel Buchmann (ger) s.t.
8. Rigoberto Uran (col) s.t.
9. Nairo Quintana (col) s.t.
10. Thibaut Pinot (fra) s.t.

14. Steven Kruijswijk (nld) + 0.08
15. Ion Izagirre (spa) s.t.
17. David de la Cruz (spa) s.t.
19. Fabio Aru (ita) s.t.
20. Rafal Majka (pol) s.t.
21. Simon Yates (gbr) s.t.
22. Bauke Mollema (nld) s.t.
29. Louis Meintjes (rsa) + 0.19
32. Miguel Ángel López (col)  s.t.
47. Ilnur Zakarin (rus) + 1.01
50. Daniel Martin (irl) + 1.15
56. Richard Carapaz (ecu) + 1.48
81. Vincenzo Nibali (ita) + 4.04
148. Richie Porte (aus) + 13.31
149. Adam Yates (gbr) s.t.

GC after the 2nd stage
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (pol)
2. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 0.14
3. Wilco Kelderman (nld) + 0.25
4. Laurens De Plus (bel) + 0.28
5. Ion Izagirre (spa) + 0.30
6. Fabio Felline (ita) s.t.
7. Emanuel Buchmann (ger) + 0.32
8. Tony Gallopin (fra) + 0.33
9. Nairo Quintana (col) + 0.33
10. Bauke Mollema (nld) + 0.35

11. Steven Kruijswijk (nld) + 0.37
12. Simon Yates (gbr) s.t.
14. Rafal Majka (pol) + 0.42
16. Thibaut Pinot (fra) + 0.43
18. George Bennett (nzl) + 0.45
19. Fabio Aru (ita) + 0.47
20. Rigoberto Uran (col) + 0.48
25. David de la Cruz (spa) + 0.53
26. Miguel Ángel López (col)  + 0.54
36. Louis Meintjes (rsa) + 1.16
38. Ilnur Zakarin (rus) + 1.31
45. Daniel Martin (irl) + 1.53
56. Richard Carapaz (ecu) + 2.36

Race report
The riders tackle the Puerto de Ojén shortly after the start. Seven riders jump clear on the early slopes. Thomas De Gendt, Pierre Rolland, Alexis Gougeard, Pablo Torres, Jonathan Lastras, Luis Ángel Maté and Héctor Sáez race over the top with a lead of more than 3 minutes. Maté pockets most KOM points ahead of De Gendt and Rolland.

Just before the first passage on the line the next KOM is crested in the same order. De Gendt stops his efforts with almost 60 kms remaining, while Maté also wins the third KOM.

Gougeard strikes with 33 kms to go and Rolland tracks him down, but they are brought back by the main group 20 kms before the finish. Leader Rohan Dennis, Peter Sagan and Richie Porte are no longer on board. Vincenzo Nibali, Gorka Izagirre, Ilnur Zakarin and Daniel Martin are dropped in the finale.

Laurens De Plus attacks just before the last km, but Alejandro Valverde brings the young Belgian back with Michal Kwiatkowski in his wheel. The two push on together before the Spaniard outguns the Pole on the line. Kwiatkowski moves into the overall lead with Valverde 14 seconds behind in second. Wilco Kelderman, who finishes fourth, lies third at 25 seconds.

Read also: route 2nd stage 2018 Vuelta a España.

Vuelta a España 2018 stage 2: Route maps, height profiles, and more

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Alejandro Valverde

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