Sosa drops Carapaz and field to claim lead at Burgos tour

Team Ineos still has not defined its starting lineup for the Vuelta a España — a strong ride in Burgos could earn Ivan Sosa a spot

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Team Ineos found its leader at the Vuelta a Burgos on Thursday, and maybe for the Vuelta a España as well.

Just days after 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas confirmed he will not race the Spanish grand tour, Iván Sosa surged to victory in stage 3 at the five-day Burgos tour in northern Spain. The solo victory puts Sosa into the driver’s seat with two stages left, and gives Ineos a clear option for the upcoming Vuelta.

“It was a hard stage, with some tough competitors, but the team did a great job,” Sosa said Thursday. “We wanted to win today and take the leader’s jersey. Now we have to stay focused and try to win it all.”

The 21-year-old Colombian surged clear with about 2km to go on the Picón Blanco summit, dropping Movistar’s Antonio Pedrero and Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz, racing for the first time since May. Sosa, who won the Burgos overall last year, finished 17 seconds ahead of Oscar Rodríguez (Euskadi-Murias) by 17 seconds. Carapaz could not answer, and crossed the line sixth at 37 seconds back.

Friday’s transition stage is ideal for a bunch kick, and Saturday’s finale hits the traditional finishing climb up Lagunas de Neila, where Sosa won last year while riding in an Androni-Sidermec jersey. With a solid lead going into favorable terrain, Sosa is in the pole position to win his second straight Burgos title.

It’s uncertain, however, that Sosa will start the Vuelta. He made his grand tour debut this spring at the Giro, riding to 44th overall while helping teammate Pavel Sivakov ride into the top-10. With Thomas and Tour de France winner Egan Bernal both skipping the Vuelta, coupled with the injured Chris Froome on the sidelines, Team Ineos has not defined its Vuelta lineup.

Sivakov also will not race the Spanish grand tour and others, such as Michal Kwiatkowski and Wout Poels, are not expected to start either. Instead, David de la Cruz, Kenny Elissonde and Tao Geoghegan Hart and Diego Rosa are expected to race.

If Sosa has winning legs, the team might be tempted to let him have a clear ride at the Vuelta. After dropping the field Thursday, he’s looking very good right now.

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