Teams that gain a wild card selection to big races like the Vuelta a Espana always want to prove that they are worthy of their place, and Burgos-BH did that in the best fashion on the Vuelta’s new summit at the Observatorio Astrofísico de Javalambre, outshining the race’s major stars with a 1-2 finish thanks to rider of the day Ángel Madrazo and teammate Jetse Bol.
Burgos began the day determined to defend Madrazo’s lead in the mountains competition, Dutchman Bol joining his experienced Spanish teammate in the break along with José Herrada of Cofidis. Madrazo in the blue polka-dot jersey and Bol in Burgos’s unmistakable purple colours fulfilled this task perfectly, cleaning up the points on the climbs to consolidate Madrazo’s lead.
As none of the three escapees were any threat to the leader’s jersey, the peloton’s big guns, led by Nicolas Roche’s Team Sunweb, weren’t concerned with chasing them down. When with little than 20 kilometres remaining their lead was still close to 10 minutes, it became clear that they were away for good and that the stage win would go to one of the trio.
On the steep ramps of the final climb, Madrazo attacked once, got dropped four times, but fought back on each occasion, the last time clawing his way up to Bol and Herrada as they reached the final kilometre. Bol had, meanwhile, let Herrada set the pace, occasionally coming through, but for the most part glued to the Cofidis rider’s back wheel.
Herrada’s tactic of riding on the front suggested he was the strongest, but ultimately numbers told. Madrazo, who rode with Herrada for two years at Movistar, perhaps knew that his acceleration on the climbs would make the difference at the end. When he delivered it, Herrada certainly had no answer, and Burgos-BH had a famous win, Bol’s second place making it even more memorable.
Analysis: Madrazo, Bol and Herrada’s attack appeared to a typical kamikaze raid, the two Burgos-BH riders essentially focused on keeping the mountains jersey on Madrazo’s shoulders. Yet, once their lead reached and, crucially, stayed at more than 10 minutes, they realized the stage win was at stake. Although Madrazo was dropped several times, and was at one point almost knocked off his bike by his own team car, he kept making his way back because Herrada just couldn’t shake Bol. With two against one in the final kilometre, the Burgos pair played their tactics perfectly, Madrazo attacking, Bol tracking, Herrada beaten.
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