BORA – Argon 18 rider finishes off strong team performance at Vuelta a España
The second stage of the Vuelta a España started almost perfectly for BORA – Argon 18. A group of 3 riders attacked directly after the start, together with Laurent Pichon (FDJ) and Bryan Nauleau (Direct Energie) Cesare Benedetti could go clear from the peloton. The goal for this trio was the only KOM of the day, which was also decisive for the leaders jersey in this classification. Sadly CeCe was not able to take the points; still he rode a strong race at the front.
The breakaway group built a lead of up to 3 minutes, but when the gap started to come down the trio was joined by Philippe Gilbert (BMC) 35km before the finish. Still the leaders could not resist the high pace of the peloton, with all sprinter teams pulling hard on the front. Therefore the break was caught with about 15km to go. BORA – Argon 18 was able to hit the front early and to position the team's sprinter – Michael Schwarzmann – well up the front. Even a crash on the home straight did not influence Michael’s concentration. He timed his sprint very well and finished second behind Gianni Meersman (Etixx Quickstep).
The Vuelta a España is Michael Schwarzmann’s first Grand Tour and therefore also his first podium finish at this level.
“The final was very hectic but all the boys did a great job for me,” says Michael Schwarzmann. “I was behind Etixx-Quickstep when we came on the home straight. Unfortunately I had to put down my hand for a second to avoid a crash, but that can happen. Again, the boys did a really great job and that was the key to success. I am very happy but also a little bit disappointed because I was close to take the win. We will keep going on.”
Photo: © BORA - Argon 18