The Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia Costa Cálida Gran Premio Banco Sabadell was resolved in a spectacular finish, which gave Alessandro Covi his first victory as a professional cyclist.
The race started at one o'clock at midday in Fortuna, under a radiant sun and excellent weather. The first kilometres were very fast, and the breakaway did not consolidate until the climb to the Cresta del Gallo.
This did not prevent Jules Hesters from winning the Meta Volante at the Puente de los Peligros, taking the lead of the race with an attack at the entrance to Murcia.
His adventure was short-lived, and the breakaway was consolidated by Asier Etxebarria's attack. The Euskaltel Euskadi rider reached the first Mountain Pass of the day in first place, and was joined shortly afterwards by his team-mate Xabier Mikel Azparren.
The duo rode a long solo ride with a lead of almost five minutes. Thanks to this, Azparren managed to win the Cima Marco Pantani, which this year has recovered the sea side, and the Special Category.
The pace of the peloton, led by UAE Team Emirates, finally neutralised them and broke the race on the descent of the Collado Bermejo. Brandon McNulty, favourite for the final victory, was caught in a breakaway that put the race in jeopardy. Warren Barguil, who won the Meta Volante-Memorial Mariano Rojas, was also in the breakaway. This ensured his double presence on the podium, as he won the Metas Volantes and the memorial trophy. He did so by beating Hesters at the final standings.
McNulty's expected attack came on the Alto del Cedacero. Goosens and Politt dropped off first, and Barguil soon after. The race seemed to be between the American and Miguel Angel Lopez, who had jumped out of the chasing group.
Neither of the two made it to Cartagena. Superman gave up due to the impossibility of catching Cabeza de Carrera. Shortly after, McNulty fell from maturity and finished almost 80 kilometres in the breakaway.
At the moment of neutralisation, Alessandro Covi played his cards. The American's team-mate took advantage of a moment of doubt in the chasing group and went in pursuit of victory.
The Italian rode solo on the Paseo Alfonso XII in Cartagena, taking his first victory as a professional cyclist. Matteo Trentin rounded off a perfect day for the Emirati team with his second place and the Primafrio Sporting Merit award.
As mentioned above, Warren Barguil won the Balneario de Archena blue jersey of the Metas Volantes by his finishing position, and Asier Etxebarria Georg Steinhauser made good his victory in the Marco Pantani Memorial Trophy to win the red
jersey of Grupo Caliche.
Miguel Ángel Ballesteros was the best regional rider and won the Juan de Dios Climatizacion jersey, and Antonio Soto was involved in the start of the Cedacero which eliminated him from any chance of victory.
Georg Steinhauser received the KIA jersey for the best young rider.