Tour Colombia 2.1
Stage 2) Paipa - Duitama
Hodeg in action in Duitama
152.4 flat kilometers from Paipa to Duitama, where four local laps awaited the peloton, were in store for the first road stage of this year’s race, which ten riders decided to spend at the front, as part of a breakaway group that despite being so large, couldn’t put more than three minutes between them and the peloton.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step quickly assumed responsibility and led the chase, several delegates from other teams who targeted a mass sprint joining our riders at the head of the group and sharing the workload. This newly-formed alliance was bad news for the escapees, who continued racing on borrowed time and got pegged back on the penultimate lap of the stage. Luxembourg Champion Bob Jungels and most combative rider of stage 1 Julian Alaphilippe, both stage winners at the previous edition, put in a huge and superb effort in the closing kilometers, stretching out the field and helping the Deceuninck – Quick-Step train move into a privileged position under the flamme rouge.
Then Bert Van Lerberghe launched Alvaro Hodeg, who kicked out with 150 meters to go and put in a strong sprint, being denied only on the last meters by his countryman Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates). For Alvaro, this was the third top 3 finish of the season and served as confirmation of the fact he is slowly but surely returning to his best after last October’s crash in the Tour de l’Eurometropole.
Photo credit: ©Maximiliano Blanco / Getty Images