JOHAN Esteban Chaves Rubio of the Australian Orica-GreenEdge team won stage two and took the overall lead of the Vuelta a Espana this afternoon.
“It is my first win in a three-week tour. It’s incredible,” Chaves told reporters. “I hope to hold onto the red jersey for as long as possible.”
This years Tour de France winner Chris Froome of Team Sky came in ninth.
The 159 kilometre stage from Alhaurin de la Torre to the Caminito del Rey was marred by a huge crash which took down or stopped much of the peloton with around 30km to go.
The Caminito del Rey was the first of a long list of the new climbs that will highlight this Vuelta a España. A stage with lots of contenders for stage victory and where GC favorites were expected to already launch the battle for the red jersey.
After a quick and nervous start, six riders broke away from the peloton at km 20: Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Walter Pedraza (Team Colombia), Nelson Oliveira (Lampre-Merida), Bert Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Davide Villella (Cannondale-Garmin) and José Gonçalves (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).
They quickly got a three minutes lead but the peloton, led by Movistar, was not in the mood to let them go further away. Matteo Pelucchi withdrew at km 50 (IAM Cycling) after suffering a crash earlier in the stage. That made him the first rider to leave the 70th Vuelta.
The race was smoothly riding to its finish when a massive crash occurred at km 129. Vincenzo Nibali was dropped but, thanks to his teammates and a tremendous effort, he managed to get back in the first group 10 kilometres away from the finish line. That’s when José Gonçalves was the last member of the breakaway to surrender.
Cyril Gautier (Europcar) opened fire on the Caminito del Rey. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) then went with his own attack, followed by Louis Mentjes (MTN-Qhubeka), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) and Nicholas Roche (Team Sky) at first.
Esteban Chaves (Orica-Greenedge) then joined them and proved to be in a great shape grabbing both the stage win and the red jersey.
Top 10, Stage 2
1. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio, Orica-GreenEdge, in 3:57:25
2. Tom Dumoulin, Giant-Alpecin, + 0:01
3. Nicolas Roche, Sky, + 0:09
4. Daniel Martin, Cannondale-Garmin, + 0:14
5. Joachim Rodriguez Oliver, Katusha, + 0:26
6. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas, Movistar, + 0:26
7. Christopher Froome, Sky, + 0:30
8. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte, Movistar, + 0:31
9. Daniel Moreno Fernandez, Katusha, + 0:31
10. Fabio Aru, Astana, + 0:37
Tomorrow (Monday) sees the third stage of the 2015 Vuelta and second-last day in the Province of Malaga. The peloton will depart from Mijas and, after overcoming two 3rd category climbs, will arrive in the city of Malaga where a sprint to the finish-line is expected. The peloton will pass through the localities of Alhaurin el Grande, Cartama and Velez Malaga, among others.