Astana's excellent start to the season continues. Jakob Fuglsang racked up the team's sixth stage race win of the season on Sunday in the Vuelta a Andalucía, known as the Ruta del Sol, which finished in Alhaurín de la Torre.
European champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton) won the fifth and final stage, his second of the race (after stage two from Seville to Torredonjimeno). However, his overall performance was not steady enough to get him anywhere near the top prize.
Fuglsang, by contrast, came second at the Alcalá de los Gazules summit finish on the first stage and second again in the stage three time trial, keeping him in touch with early race leader and defending champion Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal). He didn't win a single stage but his consistent performances placed the Dane on top of the overall ranking.
Capitulation for Wellens
Belgian Wellens made a good start to his defence by winning the first stage between Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Alcalá de los Gazules and remained in the lead overall until the third stage when he won again from Mancha Real to La Guardia.
However, it all went downhill on the fourth day when Wellens had a "nightmare" day in which he experienced radio communication problems and broke his seat. This cost him his lead by more than two minutes, allowing Fuglsang to take the lead, and Brit Simon Yates to claim the stage win at the Alhambra in Granada.
"A very nice moment"
"I am very happy with my win," Fuglsang told reporters. "Our team lives a very nice moment now at the start of the season, and I am happy to bring the team the sixth GC victory in a row." So far this year, Astana riders were overall winners in the Tour of Oman, the Tour de la Provence, the Colombia 2.1, the Vuelta a Murcia and the Volta a la Valenciana.