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Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia. Luis Leon Sanchez takes stage and final classification, Astana takes all secondary classifications

Astana Pro Team has conquered the two-day Spanish race Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia Costa Cálida, taking not only the final general classification of the race, but also all secondary classifications.

Luis Leon Sanchez took stage 2 win as well as became the overall winner of the race, taking also the point classification. Yesterday’s stage winner Pello Bilbao stepped on the third place of the final podium, while Jakob Fuglsang won the jersey of the best climber. Astana Pro Team won the final team classification.

- First of all I have to say about a great team work today. All together we did a very nice and strong race. Yeah, it was quite difficult to control Valverde on the final climb, but I was able to follow him and later to control him inside the final kilometers. I did my best in the final and I am happy to take this win. It is an important result for me since this is my home race. But, the most important is the way we raced yesterday and today. That was really great! – said Luis Leon Sanchez.

The second stage of the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia has started in Beniel and has finished in the city center of Murcia. The stage was characterized by two hard climbs: Alto Collado Bermejo (7.2 km, 7.1%) more or less in the middle of the distance and Alto de la Cresta del Gallo (4.4 km, 6.5%), a short but very steep climb with only 12 km to the finish line.

- Indeed, it was a very difficult stage, but our team managed to race it in an absolutely fantastic style. We had a great team spirit inside our group and this was the key of our success. We did our best to control the race from the start until the first big climb. Later, Jakob Fuglsang did a very solid race, firstly taking the responsibility in the race on himself by attacking on the climb and staying in front until the end of the downhill from Alto Collado Bermejo. And later, when he was caught back by the peloton, he did a very nice job from the bottom of Cresta del Gallo, helping the team to keep the situation under control. With Luis Leon Sanchez we had a good second option for this stage, so we could play our cards, having Pello Bilbao and Omar Fraile in the group and Luis Leon following that attack of Alejandro Valverde. In the final, Luis Leon did an excellent race today and took a well-deserved win in sprint against Valverde. We have spent two great days here in Murcia, and I am sure this was our common team’s success in this race, - explained Bruno Cenghialta, sports director of Astana Pro Team.

It was the reigned world champion Alejandro Valverde, who launched an attack on the steep slopes of Alto de la Cresta del Gallo and only Luis Leon Sanchez could answer to this move. On the top of the climb Valverde has got a small gap, but later the Astana rider was able to close it, joining the world champion in front of the race for the last few kilometers. In the sprint, Luis Leon Sanchez took a very beautiful victory, outsprinting Valverde and taking the final win in the general classification of the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia.

Pello Bilbao, who finished 5th in this stage, completed the final podium with third place. Also, Omar Fraile and Jakob Fuglsang finished 5th and 6th in the overall classification.

Besides, Luis Leon Sanchez won the point classification and Jakob Fuglsang won the king of mountain jersey, while Astana won the team classification of the race.

Photo credit: © Getty Images

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