CALPE, Spain – Nairo Quintana made a late charge to win the second stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Sunday, with Nicolas Roche finishing second and taking the overall lead.
Quintana broke free with less than 2 miles to go in the hilly stage of nearly 124 miles from Benidorm to Calpe on the southeastern coast of Spain.
The veteran Colombian rider from Movistar Team held onto a five-second victory over the group that included Roche of Team Sunweb and Day 1 leader Miguel Angel Lopez of Astana Pro Team.
“I needed this and so did the team,” said the 29-year-old Quintana, the 2016 Vuelta winner. “We did a great job and when that happens, the results come along.”
Durango’s Sepp Kuss finished in 140th with a time of 5 hours, 24 minutes and 34 seconds, He sits 13:27 behind Roche. His Team Jumbo-Visma teammate Primoz Roglic fared much better than in the opening time trial, after he finished the stage in third-place with a time of 5:11.12.
Roche will carry a two-second lead over Quintana going into Monday’s third stage – a 117-mile ride through a mostly flat route from Ibi to Alicante. Rigoberto Uran of team Education First was third overall, eight seconds off the lead.
The three-week Vuelta is without many top names this year, including defending champion Simon Yates, Tour de France winner Egan Bernal and Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz.