Max Richeze and Fabio Jakobsen both finished inside the top 10.
A sunny and hot day welcomed the riders as they left behind Ciudad del Juguete and headed to Alicante, which was featuring on the Vuelta a España for just the sixth time in history. Before the expected bunch sprint, the only nervous moment of the day came on the second classified climb of the day, when five riders attacked from the bunch and went out after the escapees, a move which put the sprinters in the red.
Among those dropped was also Fabio Jakobsen, but helped by his teammates, the Dutch Champion rejoined the peloton on the long and sinuous descent. Tim Declercq continued to set the tempo, as he had done from the start of the stage, before peeling off inside the final ten kilometers. With the flamme rouge in sight, Zdenek Stybar then took over and stretched out the field, as Max Richeze was expertly guiding Jakobsen through the group.
The 22-year-old Grand Tour debutant tried to open his sprint down the left-side barriers, but was boxed in, and in the end, he concluded in seventh position, just behind his Argentinean teammate, a result which Jakobsen analysed after the finish.
“It wasn’t an easy stage, and many of us got dropped on Puerto de Tibi. Fortunately, I had the guys there and they worked hard for me to come back. The last kilometers were only downhill, the sprint was very fast and hectic, we started it a bit far back, and on top of that, I got closed with 150 meters to go, so we missed on a good result today. But that’s cycling: you win some, you lose some. Surely, other opportunities will come”, Fabio waxed lyrical in Alicante.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images