Vuelta a Espana: Herrada sprint joy as Spanish rider pips Battistella and Wright

·3-min read

Jesus Herrada snatched an emotional sprint victory on stage seven of the Vuelta a Espana as the experienced rider led home a breakaway group of five.

Three years after making a Grand Tour breakthrough with a maiden stage win in the Vuelta, the 32-year-old Cofidis man roared to glory on the 190-kilometre ride from Camargo to Cistierna.

He broke down in tears at the roadside afterwards but gathered his thoughts and said: "We fought to the finish line and we were able to do it.

"This victory is very important because it took a lot to break away until we gained a distance. We had to work very hard."

A group containing Samuele Battistella (Astana), Herrada (Cofidis), Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Harrison Sweeny (Lotto Soudal) and Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) pulled well clear of the peloton early on, with a number of fellow riders falling away on the category one ascent of Puerto de San Glorio.

With 10km remaining, the lead quintet's advantage was coming down and had shrunk to one minute and one second, and the chasers looked perhaps capable of reeling them in.

That did not prove to be the case, though, allowing focus to switch to those at the head of the race as cat-and-mouse racing saw the riders snake through the streets of Cistierna.

Wright briefly looked like he had the win in his hands, but he had made his move to the front from too far out and was pipped just short of the finish line by Herrada. The stage winner and Battistella both blazed past the Briton in a final burst for glory, and the home rider took the win by barely half a wheel.

More success for Spain

It was a second Spanish win in three stages, after Marc Soler prevailed in stage five on Wednesday, and a mountainous weekend now awaits the teams. The leading general classification positions remained unchanged after the peloton's bunch finish, with Remco Evenepoel keeping the red jersey.

Quoted by Marca, Herrada said of Friday's breakaway: "The five of us who were in it understood each other quite well. We gave it our all until the end and it paid off.

"The terrain and a bit of the wind played in our favour. I'm very, very happy. It's the second Spanish win after Marc's, we're not so bad in Spanish cycling."


STAGE RESULT

1. Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) 04:30:58
2. Samuele Battistella (Astana) same time
3. Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) same time
4. Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Deceuninck) same time
5. Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 25:21:34
2. Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) +00:00:21
3. Enric Mas (Movistar) +00:00:28

Points Classification

1. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 142
2. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 127
3. Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) 64

King of the Mountains

1. Victor Langellotti (Burgos-BH) 13
2. Jay Vine (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 11
3. Ruben Fernandez (Cofidis) 11