- I am so happy to win at home in Murcia! This is a special race for me, and I am so excited to get another success here. This means a lot for me! It was a very difficult day on the road, and we all gave our best to win. The team was super today and I want to thank all guys for a great support. I think, our team did a very strong stage, especially with Omar Fraile and Oscar Rodriguez in the breakaway. I also was up there among the leaders, but on Collado Bermejo I did not feel too good. I thought it won’t be possible to fight for a stage, but later on descent I was able to catch the yellow jersey’s group, while inside the final 10 kilometers we caught two leaders. Together with Omar Fraile we played well our cards, and in a moment I saw a possibility for an attack and I just went away. This victory means a lot for me and I am happy to bring it to my team, - said Luis Leon Sanchez.
- It was a super hard day and in the end everyone was on the limit. When I saw Luis Leon attacking with 2 km to go, I tried to support him, controlling our rivals behind, but we all were empty. At the finish I gave my all in the sprint and I was happy to cross the finish line second, behind my teammate and friend Luis Leon. As a team we did a very solid race, everything was by plan, when we went in a breakaway together with Oscar Rodriguez. On Collado Bermejo we pushed as hard as possible to keep our advantage, but on descent we missed just a little to answer the attack of Alejandro Valverde. However, we were able to bring him back inside the final 10 kilometers. I was preparing for a sprint, but Luis Leon made a very strong attack and it brought us a very beautiful success. Day by day I feel like I am improving, and I hope to get more in the next races, - said Omar Fraile.
The second and the last stage of the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia started in Santomera and finished on the streets of Murcia after 179.6 km of racing and four climbs on the distance.
Astana riders were very active from the start: Yevgeniy Gidich and Zhandos Bizhigitov tried to join a breakaway group, but finally, just two riders were able to break away. However, both have been caught quite shortly, on the top of Alto Espuña (1st category climb).
Five riders went away from the peloton on the slopes of the next climb Collado Bermejo (special category climb) with Omar Fraile and Oscar Rodriguez among the attackers. With around 30 km to go it was Alejandro Valverde and Lennard Kamna, who counterattacked, but they both were caught back inside the final 10 km.
The leading group of 9 riders, including Astana’s Omar Fraile and Luis Leon Sanchez was preparing for a sprint, but with 2 km to go Sanchez made a decisive attack to win the stage. Omar Fraile finished second.
Nikita Stalnov, one of the heroes of yesterday’s stage, finished 31st, but this result allowed him to take a 5th place in the final general classification of the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia. The Belgian rider Xandro Meurisse won the final classification of the race.
Omar Fraile won the red jersey as the best climber of Vuelta Murcia. Also, as the winner of the only special category climb of the race Collado Bermejo, Fraile was awarded with a trophy in memory of Marco Pantani.
Astana Pro Team won the race in the team’s classification.
Photo credit: © Getty Images