Photo credits: Unipublic / Photogomez Sport

Stage 2 of La Vuelta 2020 saw Marc Soler claim his first Grand Tour stage victory on Movistar Team’s home roads, after 151.6km of hard racing. The Spanish outfit turned the race upside down in the last 65km and the Spaniard made the most of the final climb of the day, the Alto de San Miguel de Aralar. Soler set a hard pace in the climb and went on the downhill, while his partners Alejandro Valverde and Enric Mas controlled their rivals. Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) finished 2nd. He retains La Roja as the overall leader ahead of another explosive stage towards Vinuesa.

The 173 riders who finished stage 1 return to action in Pamplona, a few kilometres away from Movistar Team’s headquarters. Many riders try their luck in the first km of the stage but it takes 16km of battle before Juan Felipe Osorio (Burgos-BH) finds an opening. Julius Van den Berg (Education First), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) join him at km 20 but their lead never gets higher than 1’30’’ and the peloton moved closer and closer in the first climb of the day, Puerto de Guiguillano.

Jumbo control the day
Tim Wellens enjoy these slopes to attack on his own. The gap is down to 20’’ at the summit. Alex Aranburu (Astana), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) and Jonathan Hivert (Total-Direct Energie) attack over the top and bridge the gap to the leader at km 40. Gonzalo Serrano (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) join them soon afterwards.

Primoz Roglič’s Jumbo-Visma control the gap around 4 minutes in the first half of the stage. Wellens accelerates again in the second climb of the day, the Puerto de Urbasa (cat-3). He opens a 1’35’’ gap to his former breakaway companions. The peloton trails by 6’ at the summit.

Movistar up the ante
Movistar turn the race upside down with an acceleration inside the last 65km. Their acceleration though crosswinds quickly reduces the bunch to some 70 riders. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Chris Froome (Ineos Grenadiers) are among the main victims of this acceleration.

Wellens’ solo move seems doomed to fail in these conditions. His former breakaway companions join him again with 37km to go but the gap to the bunch is down under 2’. Bruno Armirail is the last attacker to be caught, at the bottom of the final climb of the day.

Soler soloes to victory
Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) accelerates away from the front group with 23km to go. Marc Soler (Movistar) sets the pace behind him. Sanchez is caught with 19km to go and there are nine riders at the front over the top: Carapaz, Mas, Soler, Valverde, Roglic, Kuss, Dan Martin, Chaves and Carthy.

Marc Soler attacks in the downhill while his rivals have their eyes set on Valverde and Mas. The gap is up to 13’’ with 10km to go, and 20’’ as the Spaniard enters the last 5km. He holds on to his lead until the finish while Primoz Roglič and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) grab a few bonus seconds on the line.