It was a superb victory as Vasil Kiryienka crossed the line first in the 2nd stage of the 51st Vuelta al País Vasco, finishing in Lekunberri after six categorized climbs, the latter of those, the Cat. 1 Alto de Azpiroz, located just 3k from the finishing line.
The Belarusian gave Movistar Team their sixth triumph of the season so far -after the ones by Rojas in Deià and the Volta; Ventoso in Down Under and Andalusia, and Tondo in San Luis- with a powerful attack at the summit of the last climb. There, Movistar Team took advantage of their figure superiority and, after the moves by David López and Xavi Tondo, launched Kiryienka ahead as he gained some meters in the downhill with four other riders, which he left behind with one kilometer and a half from the finish, showing his powerhouse conditions on the flat in the finale. The impressive performance by the telephone squad, still leading the teams’ overal classification, was completed with five riders –Kiry himself, López, Inxausti, Tondo and Arroyo- into the 20-rider group that came on top across the finish. The position account left Klöden (RSH) as new yellow jersey, with López in 6th; Tondo in 8th; Intxausti in 10th; and Kiryienka in 11th place.
“I had spent two years without a win and it was about time for me after so much work for the team, to whom I want to thank for this victory. I was really close to home -he lives in Pamplona- and I’m used to these roads during my training rides, so I knew the route to perfection. Movistar Team has four riders at a very high level in this race and that always makes winning easier, we knew how to deal with that advantage. We don’t have a strong leader this season and we have to take chances. I hadn’t expected to attack there, but I saw all riders falling short of energy and I took a strong relay into the descent. I saw myself gaining some meters and went further and further until the line. The GC? We’ll wait and see, I could stay there in a stage that wasn’t suiting me and I profited from this chance today. We’re strong and that’s the important thing, but stepping onto the podium in a race like this is really difficult. For the time being, we’ve delivered some of the work we wanted to do. We’re doing this together and that pays off in the final results. I love this team.”