The team rallies behind Edward Theuns, who continues to show good form in the first sprint stage at the Vuelta.
After Stage two went to the climbers, stage three at the Vuelta a España targeted the sprinters and Trek-Segafredo had two reliable options for the fast finish with John Degenkolb and Edward Theuns.
The nod for the first bunched finish was given to the Belgian, who had proven his fast legs in the recent Binck Bank Tour where he finished twice in the top three, and with a perfect final lead-out from Degenkolb, Theuns again found the podium in Spain.
It was decided this morning that I would sprint today, and I was really happy for that because I was already feeling in the Binck Bank Tour I was going really well. But John is a guy with a big palmarès, so it’s not so easy to ask him to do a lead-out, but I am very thankful that he did a great job. There’s still a long way to go, so hopefully we can continue this and get a stage win, and maybe even more than one.
While the stage was forecasted for the sprinters, a tough category-three rated climb had many of the fast men scrambling to rejoin the peloton. However, with the incline situated over 30 kilometers from the finish, they had enough time and road plus help from teammates, and most were safely back in the fold quickly.
“It was a sprint stage but quite a hard one with the climb with around 30-35kms to go and I was dropped,” explained Theuns. “But the climbers of the team waited for me and we could come back pretty quick.
“The last 10kms were fast and hectic with the big road and high speed, but I stayed in Alex Kirsch’s wheel the last 6-7kms and he brought me perfectly to the last 1500 meters where I lost him a bit. But luckily, I switched sides and I could find John there inside the final kilometer and he went full-on to the front with me, and then he did a great lead-out.
“I started my sprint and was hoping to go for the win, but then I saw quite quickly from the left side Sam Bennett passing me. I think for the moment he’s the fastest sprinter in the world, and in the Binck Bank Tour we tried to beat him with strong teamwork, but he just proves again and again he’s super fast.”
We can be happy with second, but I am a little bit disappointed because the team did again a great job. But I think there’s no shame in getting second behind Bennett, and it’s a good start in the Vuelta with the sprints and if we keep on working this way hopefully, we will be rewarded.