INEOS Grenadiers had a dream debut in the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia. After a long day with cold, wind and rain, the peloton has played the victory in a very numerous sprint in the Parque Torres de Cartagena.
The day has been conditioned by the delay in the start, and the suspension of the ascent to the Alto del Collado Bermejo for security reasons. This has upset the plans of many teams, whose favouritism was based on the ascent of the Special Category mountain pass.
The initial part of the race was very fast and frenetic. The first breakaway, made up of more than twenty riders, set a very high pace on the approach to the first mountain pass, the Cresta del Gallo. A breakaway that included Rubén Fernández, who was the first to reach the top of the third category, to the delight of his countrymen.
The race continued at a rapid pace. The breakaway also led the way to the first flying goal, in Murcia. Luke Rowe, from Ineos, passed it in first position.
Once this breakaway was neutralised, at the exit of El Palmar, the change in the route began. Instead of going directly to Alhama de Murcia, the race went to Librilla to climb the Cola del Caballo, of third category. It was on this stretch that the definitive breakaway was formed. José María García made clear his intentions to fight for the Metas Volantes and infiltrated a group that also included his teammate Mateu Estelrich, who finished first, Harrison Sweeny, Iván Romeo and Paul Ourselin.
The descent was via Gebas. As planned, the Meta Volante Primafrio was held in Alhama de Murcia, but in the opposite direction. José María García began to cement his goal by crossing it first, escorted by his teammate. He closed his victory in the classification in Mazarrón, when he crossed first again in the Memorial Mariano Rojas Trophy. He ensured a double presence on the podium.
Emirates was the first team to take responsibility for the pursuit. A gauntlet that has been picked up by the teams of the big favourites. The last flying goal was held at Mazarrón.
On arrival at Cedacero, the advantage was just over a minute. As happened last year, the breakaway riders gradually gave way, while in the main group the attacks followed one after the other. Although on this occasion the breakaway have not reached Cartagena.
On the descent of the Cedacero and the passage through Cartagena there was a great battle to enter the climb to Parque Torres in a good position. A battle that was won by Emirates, who launched with Tim Wellens the finish for Matteo Trentin. The Italian rider was unable to finish off the work of his team-mates, and was overtaken by Simon Clarke and Ben Turner on the final straight.
Turner is the new winner of the race. He achieved his first victory as a professional cyclist, and the first for INEOS in its debut in the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región. He has been also the best young rider of the race. Clarke is second for Israel Premier-Tech, and Jordi Meeus third for Bora.
Harrison Sweeny was rewarded for his bravery and has been the King of the mountain. José María García, a rider making his debut in his home race, was twice on the pódium: as the winner of the Metas Volantes and the Memorial Mariano Rojas.
Rubén Fernández, protagonist in the first part of the race, has been the best regional cyclist. UAE Team Emirates are the best team, with Matteo Trentin and Tim Wellens in the Top-10 (5th and 6th).