The Belgian rider Jasper Philipsen won stage two of the Vuelta a España on Sunday by edging the bunch sprint at the end of the flat 166km stage from Caleruega to Burgos as Primoz Roglic maintained his overall lead.
The Alpecin-Fenix rider timed his surge to the finish line perfectly to pass the UAE Emirates rider Juan Sebastián Molano, who went too early and was easily caught before finishing fourth. The Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen was second with the Australian Michael Matthews third, all crossing the line in 3hr 58min 57sec.
Philipsen’s victory completed a hat-trick of opening sprint wins in all three grand tours this season for Alpecin-Fenix while the Belgian collected his second Vuelta stage win after taking his first last year.
“It’s incredible,” he said of the team’s third successive triumph. “Yesterday someone put it in our team group chat and for sure it was a dream but I didn’t want to think about it because the chance is always less high than it would be true.
“It just shows how everyone from team is really motivated. It was a team effort and we can be really proud. It was amazing to see all my teammates there and everyone on the frontline. I had a lot of support and this is how we can win sprints.”
The reigning champion, Roglic, finished 33rd but lost no time and kept the leader’s red jersey after winning Saturday’s individual time trial.
The race enters the mountains for the first time on Monday with a 202km ride from Santo Domingo de Silos to Espinosa de los Monteros and will be a big day for general classification hopefuls such as Egan Bernal and Adam Yates in their bid to challenge Roglic for the title.