Philipsen wins the sprint and Roglic remains in the lead
Philipsen won the second stage of La Vuelta 2021 in a sprint finish. The Alpecin rider won his second stage on Iberian soil in an uneventful finish. A crash with four kilometres to go left several riders out, none in the fight for the stage or the overall.
A breakaway until the end
The second stage of La Vuelta 2021 arrived with Roglic as leader, a real flat course around the province of Burgos in the middle of a heatwave. Lucifer, as the meteorologists have named the scorching sun, took its toll throughout the day. Clear skies, not a single cloud to be seen wherever you looked.
A fact that did not prevent the first attack and the first breakaway from forming in the first kilometre. The cycling world is full of brave riders. Diego Rubio, from Burgos-BH, Sergio Román, from Caja Rural and Xabier Azparren, from Euskaltel. This trinomial would capitalise on the attention of the whole day, because this breakaway was to prevail throughout the day, until 20 kilometres to the finish that they were all neutralised.
But before all that, there is so little to say that it is worth praising the Spanish riders' attempt to gain some prominence, to let themselves be seen. The breakaway's lead even exceeded 4 minutes at some point, but the cadence of the three was steady but not very happy, as if it was not going to be enough. And so it was, the peloton pressed when it considered it necessary and gradually reduced the gap.
Deceuninck started pulling, followed by Groupama-FDJ because Démare wants a sprint stage, but the lead was still under three minutes. But with 100 kilometres to go, the gap was already at one minute and forty-five seconds. The peloton was still going at its own pace, more concerned about the strong headwind during a large part of the stage and the risk that this meant for the formation of hazardous winds and dangerous breakaways. That's why, with 35 to go, the peloton said enough was enough, and the gap dropped to under a minute. It was as easy as that.
Sprint finish and victory for Philipsen
With a glimpse of what was to come, and to burn the last bullet, Diego Rubio tried a solo attack. It worked against his breakaway companions, but not against the peloton, which continued to hammer the time and reduce the advantage kilometre by kilometre. The minute at 25 kilometres to the finish for Rubio was totally insufficient, but the youngster kept on trying. He was still daring enough for 5 kilometres.
The wind came in mainly from the left side on the Burgos straights, but all the time from the front. It changed from side to side, but it never hit the tail end of the road for the whole time. Meanwhile, the peloton reached the last 10 kilometres grouped together. Burgos could already be seen in the distance: the second arrival in the city of Arlanzón. A few roundabouts but a completely straight avenue, which was a very nice way to position oneself well for the sprint.
The monastery of Las Huelgas welcomed the cyclists, blind to catch the good wheel, the good slipstream, the good place. Nervousness could be smelt at over 60 per hour, on the flat. And the wind was in their favour on this last stretch, so the roosters were pushed forward. Some riders, including two escapees and Pidcock, also dropped off. Obviously, if you're not racing the stage, you avoid the dangers. What dangers?
With 4 kilometres to go, a heavy crash. Bora, the team most affected. And Roglic escaped by the skin of his teeth. The ghosts flew, but the Slovenian escaped the burn.
Sprint launched with one kilometre to go. And a spectacular sprint: Molano started too early, with 30 metres to spare, metres in which Philipsen found the gap and took the victory.
- Jasper Philipsen (Alepcin-Fenix) | 3:58:57
- Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) | 3:58:57
- Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) | 3:58:57
- Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates) | 3:58:57
- Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech) | 3:58:57
- Roglic, P. (Jumbo Visma) | 4:07:29
- Aranburu, A. (Astana) | +4
- Matthews, M. (Bike Exchange) | +10