La Vuelta a España Stage 8: Serry Top 10, Etixx - Quick-Step Goes on the Offensive!
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Pieter Serry finished 8th in an unexpectedly chaotic 182.5km Stage 8 of La Vuelta a España, from Puebla de Don Fadrique to Murcia, on Saturday. Iljo Keisse, Niki Terpstra, and Gianluca Brambilla also played protagonists as Etixx - Quick-Step was constantly in the actions.
Jasper Stuyven (Trek Factory Racing) won, with Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural) placing 2nd, and Kevin Reza (FDJ) finishing 3rd.
Iljo Keisse started out the active day for Etixx - Quick-Step, entering into a six-man breakaway. However, that breakaway was caught earlier than expected after a crash in the peloton at 50km remaining in the race, which forced several key riders to abandon. A split formed in the peloton soon after, and the pace of the front group cut deeply into the advantage of the breakaway. Two riders of the breakaway went ahead, but after the first passage out of two on a Category 3 climb, Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin), after going solo ahead of Angel Madrazo (Caja Rural) crashed on a descent. This allowed Madrazo to pass him and go solo instead. But that was also short lived.
Niki Terpstra was the next Etixx - Quick-Step rider to animate the race. He accelerated with 20.8km left, and teammate Gianluca Brambilla used him as a slingshot to go over the top as a solo leader. Eventually Brambilla was joined by several riders, but the fast pace of the race did not leave much room for the select group to get a decent advantage.
Kenny Elissonde (FDJ), Jose Goncalves (Caja Rural), and Alberto Losada (Katusha) were the only riders left ahead with 9km to go, and the gap at 22 seconds. However, even that move was unsuccessful. At 3km remaining the race was back together. Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal) tried one last attack, but the race ended in a group arrival.
Gianluca Brambilla was also 15th in the stage. Terpstra crashed on a downhill section, but fortunately without consequences.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to 168.3km Stage 9, from Torrevieja to Cumbre del Sol. Benitachell, on Sunday. This stage promises to be selective for the finale, as there is a Category 1 summit finale.