Sergey Firsanov charged to a spectacular uphill finish to win the stage and the overall in the Vuelta a Madrid.
Finishing second and third on the tough, finish climb was Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Jose Belda (Spain National team) respectively.
The 182.4-kilometer race suited the climbers as the parcours contained six significant climbs, the final uphill a category one, grueling ascent to the finish line. Heading into the day sitting 2nd and 3rd in the general classification after stage one’s time-trial RusVelo was in good position, however they were under-manned with only 5 riders as Matvey Zubov was feeling ill.
The race saw a 20-rider strong break escape with 3 riders from Euskaaltel Euskadi and 2 from Movistar, and every other team represented except Rusvelo. It was an amazing team effort by only three RusVelo riders to lessen the gap from over 3 minutes to 1 minute and allow the attack of Firsanov to bridge up on the second to last climb.
From that point on Firsanov put his stamp on the race that he was the strongest, and no one could match his pace as he climbed to victory. He powered away to finish in first by almost 2 minutes.
“We knew that Firsanov had the form to win the race today and the team did a great job to bring back that break,” Egon van Kessel said after the race. “He showed that he is on very, very good form right now, he is climbing so well. He was really strong on that last climb. No one could stay with him. That was very impressive. Unbelievable.”