Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie) snatched victory and took the first leader’s jersey at the Vuelta a Andalucia-Ruta Ciclista Del Sol thanks to a late bike-throw at the line that left Sacha Modolo (EF Education First-Drapac) red-faced after he had prematurely raised his arms in victory.
EF Education First-Drapac led out the sprint for Modolo with three riders, and when he kicked hard with 150 metres to go, he looked set to win in the middle of the road. Boudat, however, is a former Omnium world champion, and used his track speed to make a late, determined charge to the line. Modolo put his arms up as he hit the line but the photo finish showed that Boudat had nipped past him at the death and won the stage.
Clement Venturini (AG2R La Mondiale) was third ahead of Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Tosh Van Der Sande (Lotto Soudal).
While no time bonuses are awarded at the Ruta del Sol, Boudat is the first race leader thanks to his victory and he will wear the leader’s red jersey on stage 2.
Froome back in the peloton
Before the riders rolled out at the start in Mijas, the Ruta del Sol was all about Chris Froome (Team Sky) and his first comments in public about his salbutamol case since the news broke in December. After he shared his thoughts with the waiting media, the four-time Tour de France winner lined up with former teammate Mikel Landa (Movistar) at the front of the peloton and led the race away from the start.
The first break of the day formed after just a few kilometres, with Silvan Dillier (AG2R-La Mondiale), Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Luis Guillermo Mas Bonet (Caja Rural–Seguros), Garikoitz Bravo (Euskadi Basque Country), Txomin Juaristi (Fundacion Euskadi) convinced of their chances.
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