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Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) took stage 1 of the 2020 Vuelta a Burgos with a late attack on the steep climb to Mirador del Castillo. Just as the front group rode into the final kilometer, the Austrian launched a fierce attack on the punchy climb and quickly distanced himself from a reduced peloton.
He held on to win by eight seconds ahead of Joåo Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and 2018 world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
“I have to say thanks to the team, they brought me to the perfect position on the last corner at the beginning of the climb,” Großschartner said at the finish. “Then it was like the speed stopped a bit, so I went full gas and said, what can happen? If they catch me, they catch me. It’s always better to be in front than to have to chase.”
The pre-race favorites for the general classification finished a further two seconds in arrears, with the front group including Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren) in fifth and Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) in 10th.
Evenepoel had earlier tried to ride off the front with 35km to go, but the group did not give the young star much of a leash. After gaining a 45-second gap, the Deceuninck-QuickStep star was reeled back into the group with 23km remaining.
A crash earlier saw the abandonment of Sebastian Henao (Team Ineos) and Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma), who was reported to have lost a finger in the incident. This was Leemreize’s first race as a pro, having just been promoted from the development squad a week earlier.
Team Ineos organized to neutralize a solo attack by Willie Smit (Burgos-BH) with 22km remaining, while keeping 2019 Giro d’Italia champion Richard Carapaz well protected.
But with just inside of 8km to go, CCC took control of the front, trying to put Matteo Trentin into a strong position, ahead of a loosely-organized Bahrain-McLaren sprint train.
Inside of 2km to go, the race was single-file, with teams trying to find good lines for the final twisty, cobbled kilometer.
A slight regroup just before the final 1km climb gave Großschartner an opening, and he took control, just after the red kite.
Stage 1 results
1. Félix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe), 3:40:22
2. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep), at :08
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), at s.t.
4. Alex Aranburu Deba (Astana Pro Team), at s.t.
5. Mikel Landa Meana (Bahrain-McLaren), at :10
6. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), at s.t.
7. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), at s.t.
8. Jay Mc Carthy (Bora-Hansgrohe), at s.t.
9. Matteo Trentin (CCC Team), at s.t.
10. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep), at s.t.