Etixx-Quick Step rider Gianni Meersman won the final sprint to win stage 2 of La Vuelta last night with Michael Schwarzmann of Bora Argon and Magnus Cort Nielsen of Orica-Bike Exchange placing 2nd and 3rd.
Former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland placed fourth and took the overall leaders jersey after the relatively flat 160km stage.
“This is one of the nicest starts to a race I’ve ever had,” Kwiatkowski said after donning the jersey.
“Winning the team time trial is an incredible feeling, and I’m really thankful that afterwards I had the opportunity to go for the sprint. A few kilometres from the final, Pete asked me if I wanted to go for the sprint and I accepted this proposal.”
The racing steps up a notch tonight with Stage 3 featuring the first of many challenging mountain passes.
A 176 km stage, the first 100km is flat and calm. It later crosses into often windy terrain with two high peaks – the Alto de Lestaio and the Alto Das Paxareiras. The stage’s outcome will no doubt be decided in a short but very tough climb of almost 30% gradient. With close to 3,000 metres of vertical climbing in stage 3, it’s sure to be action-packed viewing.