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Vuelta a Espana 2018: Elia Viviani out-sprints Sagan to win Stage 10

Pete Muir
4 Sep 2018

The Italian makes it two, as Brit Simon Yates stays in red

Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) cruised to an easy victory on Stage 10 of this year's Vuelta, out-sprinting World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), who had to settle for second place once again.

Viviani's win makes it two stages for the Italian sprinter, while Sagan will be wondering what he has to do to get a win – having taken second spot three times in the last four stages.

All the big names on GC came in with the pack, meaning that British rider Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) maintains his slender leader at the top of the overall placings.

Story of the stage

At the beginning of Stage 10, the fight for the General Classification could barely have been closer. Only one second separated Yates  in first place and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in second.

Indeed, the top ten riders on GC were only 48 seconds apart, making this year’s Vuelta a far tighter race than the recent Giro d'Italia and Tour de France after the first week.

With a mostly flat run of 177km from Salamanca to Fermoselle near the Portugese border, there was little chance of those gaps growing any bigger, as the day was tailor-made for a sprint finish.

Early on, after a series of fruitless attempts to establish a break, Jesus Ezquerra (Burgos-BH) eventually managed to escape on his own. He was later joined by Tiago Machado (Katusha-Alpecin) and the pair managed to create of gap of around four minutes.

With Yates in red, Mitchelton-Scott did their time on the front of the peloton, but as the 100km-to-go mark swept past, they were happy to slip back and let the sprinters’ teams take up the workload.

The pack slowly reeled in the two breakaway men, catching them on the only climb of the day, Alto de Fermoselle (4.9km, 5.3%) with around 30km to go.

Several teams pushed the pace on the climb – especially Peter Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe – in an attempt to unship some of the pure sprinters, but all the big names survived and the peloton calmed again as the teams organised themselves for the run-in.

Just to add some spice, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) punctured in the final few kilometre, followed swiftly by Simon Yates, however both managed to make it safely back into the pack before the pace became too high.

Diego Rubio of Burgos-BH had a brave attempt to sneak off the front, but never managed to get out of the looming shadow of the chasing peloton.

With Viviani as hot favourite for the day, his Quick-Step team controlled the run-in, while the GC teams crowded out the front of the bunch, keeping their team leaders safe.

In the end, Viviani made it look like a formality, slipping out from behind his lead out man in the final 200m and never being seriously challenged by Sagan and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo), who took second and third respectively. 

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