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Gallery: Philipsen sprints to victory at end of hot Vuelta a Espana Stage 2 action

Martin James
16 Aug 2021

Alpecin-Fenix fast man times his sprint perfectly after expected crosswinds fail to materialise

Belgian Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) took the spoils as the 2021 Vuelta a Espana eased into full swing with the first road stage on Sunday, edging out Deceuninck-Quickstep’s Fabio Jakobsen in the sprint for the line.

A mostly flat 166.7km run from Caleruega to Burgos, Stage 2 always looked set for a bunch finish, and while an early break of three riders from wildcard teams did scamper down the road to chase down the TV cameras, they never established a big enough gap to look a genuine threat for the stage win.

That was partly down to a forecast of strong winds in the second half of the stage, creating the possibility of echelons, time gaps and dangerous riding conditions. With that in mind, the peloton kept the trio of escapees at arm's length, never allowing the gap to get beyond four minutes or so.

In the end the wind proved less of a factor than expected, though a temperature in the mid-thirties didn't make it any easier on the three breakaway hopefuls. But this was always going to be a day for the sprinters, and following a three-way battle for control between Alpecin-Fenix, Deceuninck-QuickStep and UAE Team Emirates, Philipsen timed his run to the finish line expertly to overhaul Jakobsen and take the green jersey for his troubles.

Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) remained in the leader’s red jersey he took with victory in Saturday's opening time-trial, although second placed Alex Alanburu did gain a couple of seconds in the intermediate sprints and nearly gained more than that with a strong fifth place in the sprint.

The Astana rider is now just four seconds down overall, but the GC picture should change greatly today with a tough summit finish at Picon Blanco. In the meantime, here are Chris Auld’s photos from Stage 2:

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