Astana wins Vuelta a Burgos team time trial

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Astana were not expected to defend their win in the Vuelta a Burgos team time trial but the Kazakhs defied expectations as they made it two in a row on the technical, hilly course in Burgos.

Stopping the clock in 13.10, Astana beat Movistar by two seconds and Etixx-QuickStep by three seconds and this was enough to put Dmitriy Gruzdev into the leader’s jersey.

Astana went into the race with Michele Scarponi and Dario Cataldo as their GC riders and the two Italians were keen to get their race off to a good start. That’s exactly what they did as they were two of four riders to reach the finish in 13.10 to take the win for the second year in a row.

However, the situation is completely different from what it was in 2015. Back then, Astana were more than 30 seconds faster than runner-up Caja Rural but this year they could only beat Movistar by 2 seconds and Etixx-QuickStep by 3 seconds. Hence, strong climbers like Jose Herrada, Javier Moreno, Ruben Fernandez, Giovanni Visconti (all Movistar), Gianluca Brambilla and David De La Cruz (Etixx-QuickStep) are very much still in contention for the overall win.

Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff ) are arguably the two biggest favourites for the overall win but they both lost a bit of time. Yates’ team could only manage 6th, losing 9 seconds to the winners, while Contador and Tinkoff lost 13 seconds in 8th. Among the GC contenders, the big loser was Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r) as he lost 34 seconds to the Astana captains.

However, the biggest winner was Dmitriy Gruzdev. The Kazakh had been the first Astana rider to cross the line yesterday and as he was one of four riders from his team to reach the finish together, he took the overall lead. He is equal on time with Cataldo, Eros Capecchi and Scarponi while the Movistar riders are two seconds behind.

Gruzdev will hope for an easier day tomorrow when the sprinters should be back in action for the third stage. The opening section includes just a single climb after 56km of racing and then the riders will cross the finish line for the first time at the 112km mark. In the end, they will do one two laps of a 42.5km circuit that includes the category 3 climb of Alto Retuerta 22km from the finish. After the descent, the riders will head along flat roads to the finish where the slightly downhill sprint comes at the end of a long, straight road of more than 2km.

Vuelta a Burgos 2016 – stage 2 results (TTT Burgos):

1. Astana 0:13:10
2. Movistar +02″
3. Etixx – Quick Step +03″
4. BMC +06″
5. ORICA-BikeExchange +09″
6. Katusha ,,
7. Tinkoff +11″
8. Caja Rural – Seguros RGA +13″
9. FDJ +14″
10. Cannondale-Drapac ,,

General classification after stage 2:

  • Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana) 3:45:14
    2. Dario Cataldo (Astana) ,,
    3. Eros Capecchi (Astana) ,,
    4. Michele Scarponi (Astana) ,,
    5. Gianni Meersman (Etixx – Quick-Step) +03″
    6. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) ,,
    7. Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx – Quick-Step) ,,
    8. David De La Cruz (Etixx – Quick-Step) ,,
    9. Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar) ,,
    10. Yves Lampaert (Etixx – Quick-Step) ,,
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