Vuelta a Burgos

Felix Grossschartner wins opening stage of Vuelta a Burgos

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Felix Grossschartner celebrates winning the opening stage of the Vuelta a Burgos

Image credit: Getty Images

ByJames Walker-Roberts
28/07/2020 at 15:11 | Updated 28/07/2020 at 16:10

Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the opening stage of the Vuelta a Burgos after a brilliant attack on the final climb to the finish.

In the first major stage race since the season was suspended in March, Grossschartner pulled clear with 700m remaining and finished eight seconds ahead of Joao Almeida (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

"I’m super happy," said Grossschartner. "I checked the parcours yesterday and I saw it wasn’t a bad finish for me.

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"I have to say thanks to the team, they brought me to the perfect position on the last corner at the beginning of the climb. I went full gas and said, what can happen? If they catch me, they catch me. It’s always better to be in front than to have to chase."

The stage was marred by a crash that saw Jumbo-Visma rider Gijs Leemreize sustain a nasty finger injury on his professional debut.

Chris Froome’s soon-to-be team Israel Start-Up Nation also suffered a setback before the race as they withdrew two riders due to coronavirus concerns.

The team said Itamar Einhorn and Alex Dowsett were both taken out of the race as an "extreme precautionary measure" after Einhorn came into contact with Omer Goldstein, who is not competing in Burgos but returned a positive test on Monday.

Both Einhorn and Dowsett have returned negative results.

The stage covered 157km, starting and finishing in Burgos, and is the first of five stages around the north of Spain.

A number of cycling’s big-hitters are competing as they start their competitive preparations for the Tour de France on August 29, including Valverde, Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren), Richard Carapaz (Team Ineos) and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).

Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma) and Sebastian Henao (Team Ineos) did not finish the stage after falling in a crash with around 50km to go.

The small breakaway was reeled in soon afterwards and it was Grossschartner who made the decisive move in the closing stages as he attacked up the final climb to win.

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