THE Vuelta de Andalucía brought the residents of the sleepy Cordoban village of Iznajar out in their droves as some of the world’s best riders ended the 200km stage two in the heart of the pueblo.
As the rolling circus descended on the village, the steep and twisty Calle Cordoba was transformed into a spectacular climax to the second day of events, with advertising hoardings lining the streets, camera helicopters flying overhead and a plethora of support vehicles passing through.
Nearly 200 riders started the second day in the centre of Seville, traversing 198 kilometres across inland Seville and Cordoba before emerging into Villanueva de Algaidas, 6 kilometres from the finish line.
As the leading pack entered the final stages of the day after 5 hours of lead swapping from the leading teams, Gonzalo Serrano pulled the pin entering the final 7% climb into the village.
The chasing pack could do nothing as the Caja Rural – RGA rider split from the pack and finished two seconds ahead of fellow Spaniard Juan Jose Lobato (Fundacion Euskadi) and Belgium Dylan Teuns (Bahrain – McLaren) with a time of 5 hours, 7 minutes and 49 seconds.
On claiming his first victory as a professional rider, the 25 year old from Madrid said “It was a day that suited me well, yesterday I lifted my foot thinking about today’s stage since it was a route that suited my characteristics and we studied the details thoroughly.”
Dane Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) holds onto his overall lead after his stellar performance in stage one, followed by Bahrain – McLaren duo of Mikel Landa and Dylan Teuns.
Frenchman Clement Venturini (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Australian Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott) rounded out the top five.
There is no rest for the athletes as they move on to Jaen today for stage three, a 177 kilometre slog through to Ubeda.
As fast as the event passed through it was gone, with the banners removed and the structures dismantled, leaving a village to reflect on the spectacle of one of the UCI’s premier road racing events.