Mollema wins 17th Vuelta stage, Nibali keeps lead
BURGOS, Spain (AP) — Dutch rider Bauke Mollema won the 17th stage of the Spanish Vuelta in a sprint finish on Wednesday, while Vincenzo Nibali retained his overall lead.
Mollema, a 26-year-old Belkin-Pro rider, finished the 189-kilometer (117-mile) route from Calahorra to Burgos in 4 hours, 44 minutes, 28 seconds, just ahead of Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen, who finished in the same time.
Lampre-Merida rider Maximiliano Ariel Richeze of Argentina was third in the same time.
Italy’s Nibali maintains a 28-second lead over second-place Christopher Horner of the United States who rides for Radioshack-Leopard.
“I am really happy, I was just thinking, ‘this is my chance,’ because I was up front with a small group of riders,” Mollema said.
As riders began to approach Burgos, Nibali’s teammate Diego Ulissi began an early charge away from the pack. But the riders soon bunched up, trying to place themselves tactically for the final sprint.
Paul Voss of Germany, riding for Netapp-Endura, broke away but was shadowed by Mollema, who then burst forward and maintained his sprint to the line.
“The speed dropped a bit and I decided I wanted to attack then and saw there was one guy from the Netapp-Endura team,” Mollema said. “So I went behind him and then really kicked off and kept it up to the very end.”
On Thursday the riders tackle a grueling 186.5 kilometer (116 mile) mountain stage from Burgos to Pena Cabarga which includes three category 3 climbs, one category 2 peak and a category 1 ascent to the finish.