VUELTA’22 Stage 2: Bennett Bounces Back for the Win!
Sprint Stage Battle
Vuelta Stage 2 Report: At the end of a chaotic bunch sprint in Utrecht, Ireland’s Sam Bennett of BORA-hansgrohe showed his sprinting talent of past years. The top sprinters of the 2022 Vuelta a España battled it out to the line with Bennett first across the line followed by Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Deceuninck). Mike Teunissen took the overall leaders red jersey.
The stage finalé
Sam Bennett took his fourth Tour of Spain stage win
The second stage of the Vuelta a España was won by Sam Bennett. The Irishman was the fastest in the bunch sprint to take his fourth Vuelta stage win. Mike Teunissen finished fourth and took the overall lead from Robert Gesink.
Robert Gesink popular with the Dutch media at the start
Fernando Escartín: “A primarily flat stage. The only obstacle on the day will be a 3rd category climb that will determine the first riders to fight for the mountain jersey. Victory will be decided in a sprint to the finish-line. The proximity to the sea could provoke strong winds and add to the stage’s unpredictability.”
After Friday’s opening team time trial, the Vuelta a España continued on Saturday with a 175 kilometre stage from Den Bosch to Utrecht with one ‘mountain climb’ on the route. After well over a hundred kilometres, the riders had to climb the Amerongse Berg (2.1km at 2.4%). Then via the Soesterberg Air Base, where the intermediate sprint of the day was, to the final circuit in Utrecht. The finish line was at the Utrecht Science Park, on the east side of the city. A bunch sprint was expected.
Alejandro Valverde (2009): 16 times in La Vuelta, 22 days wearing the yellow jersey + 5 days wearing La Roja. 12 stage victories. Vincenzo Nibali (2010): 7 times in La Vuelta, 20 days wearing La Roja. 1 stage win. Chris Froome (2011, 2017): 8 times in La Vuelta, 19 days wearing La Roja. 5 stage victories. Simon Yates (2018): 4 times in La Vuelta, 11 days wearing La Roja. 2 stage victories. Primoz Roglič (2019, 2020, 2021): 4 times in La Vuelta, 36 days wearing La Roja, 9 stage victories. Total: 39 times in La Vuelta, 108 as leader, 29 stage victories, 8 GC victories
Jumbo-Visma had all the classification jerseys at the start, how many at the finish?
With Robert Gesink in the red leader’s jersey, the peloton left Den Bosch for the 175 kilometres back to Utrecht. Two kilometres after the official start, the break of the day had already gone with Julius van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost), Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH), Xabier Mikel Azparren (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Pau Miquel (Equipo Kern Pharma) and Thibault Guernalec (Arkéa-Samsic). When the gap was 5 minutes, Alpecin-Fenix started to chase. They had the big favourite for the stage win: Tim Merlier.
The gun started stage 2
A day for the sprinters?
The work of the Belgian team reduced the lead to 2 minutes. With about 120 kilometres to go, Alpecin-Deceuninck put the hammer down again. The peloton was pulled into a long line and the gap to the escape narrowed quickly. At one point the five had about 100 metres. However, catching the break turned out not to be the intention, because little by little they increased their lead again.
The street cleaners will be busy today
The fans were out again – 260,000 were at the roadside for the stage 1 TTT
The five would compete for the only mountain point of the day, and the mountain jersey that went with it on the Amerongse Berg, which was called the Alto de Amerongse for this Spanish occasion. Thibault Guernalec didn’t wait for the climb and attacked a few kilometres before the bottom.
One of the many canals in the area
The peloton didn’t give the break an easy time
The Frenchman had Van den Berg on his wheel, but on the first past of the hill the others rejoined. After new skirmishes, there was sprint for the first KOM jersey. Van den Berg was the fastest after many false sprints for what looked like imaginary KOM lines. He beat Guernalec. Van den Berg took the one mountain point with his sprint, the next is on Sunday, on the Rijzendeweg, there is again one KOM point.
The break’s advantage fluctuated all day
Alpecin-Deceunick were the only team to chase in the early part of the stage
Van den Berg was the only rider with something from the early break. Just over 10 kilometres after the top of the Alto de Amerongse, the adventure of the five escapees came to an end. The peloton stayed together for the next 15 kilometres. With 45 kilometres to go, Luis Ángel Maté (Euskaltel-Euskadi) took off on his own. The 38-year-old veteran managed to take a 40 second advantage.
The break started to split on the ‘climb’ of the day
In the run-up to the intermediate sprint at the Soesterberg Air Base, Maté was caught. Just before the sprint, there was a crash in the peloton. Gregor Mühlberger crashed, followed by Wout Poels, Kamil Malecki and Steff Cras soon after. The Dutchman and the Pole were able to continue, but Cras needed medical attention and eventually had to abandon.
Luis Ángel Maté (Euskaltel-Euskadi) went solo
Mads Pedersen won the intermediate sprint and it was then full speed to the finish, for the real sprint. In the run-up to the sprint there was another crash, Gerben Thijssen was involved with some other riders. Sam Bennett came through unscathed and was the fastest at the line. Mads Pedersen was second, Tim Merlier third. Mike Teunisse, who finished fourth, took over the red jersey from his teammate Robert Gesink.
Bennett was given the perfect lead-out from his team
Stage winner, Sam Bennett (BORA-hansgrohe): “At the beginning, Danny [van Poppel] brought me up with speed and then I waited for a second and my speed dropped. I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t get on top of the speed again, but in the end we came from behind. Danny launched me and it’s down to the boys today. They did a fantastic job to bring me to the line with great legs. In the moment, it’s just racing. I was more worried about holding on than I was actually worried about passing people. It’s nice [to win again in a Grand Tour]. I knew I’d do it again, it was just a matter of getting the right legs. What I’m really happy about is continuing my pattern of winning at least a stage in each Grand Tour since 2018. I’m quite happy to lead the points standings. I’m quite happy with my level but I think experience and the guys made a difference today. There might be another sprint tomorrow. We’ll go in with the same hunger again.”
Is this the return of Sam Bennett?
Overall leader and 4th on the stage, Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma): “Actually, it wasn’t the plan. I’ve been saying already for a lot of days that we’re mainly here to take care of Primoz [Roglič], also today that was the big plan. But actually this morning the guys surprised me a bit saying that, if it all went as planned and Primoz went safe into the last 3 km we could see if I could be the one crossing the line first. It was already pretty special. I want to thank the team and everyone involved. The yellow jersey is pretty special, but the red one after that is maybe even more special. I aim for more, but it was an amazing day and I’m already looking forward for tomorrow. In my home country, with a lot of people cheering, it’s really amazing for me and for everyone.”
Jumbo-Visma kept the red jersey, now with Mike Teunissen
# Keep it PEZ for all the Vuelta a España action. #
Vuelta a España Stage 2 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) BORA-hansgrohe in 3:49:34
2. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
3. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck
4. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
5. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) UAE Team Emirates
6. Daniel McLay (GB) Arkéa Samsic
7. Itamar Einhorn (Isr) Israel-Premier Tech
8. Jake Stewart (GB) Groupama-FDJ
9. John Degenkolb (Ger) DSM
10. Kaden Groves (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 2:
1. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 4:14:14
2. Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma at 0:04
3. Sam Oomen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
4. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:14
5. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:16
6. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:17
7. Pavel Sivakov (Fra) INEOS Grenadiers
8. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:18
9. Kaden Groves (Aus) BikeExchangeJayco at 0:31
10. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 0:33.
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