Andreas Kron (Lotto Dstny) made the most of his punch and of the iconic climb of Montjuic to solo to victory at the end of stage 2 of La Vuelta 23. The Dane attacked with 4 kilometres to go and nobody could keep up with him. Already a stage winner in the Volta a Catalunya 2021, he eventually took his first Grand Tour victory with a gap of 7’’ on Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck), the fastest man in the chase group.
Due to the rains pouring on Barcelona, the times for the general classification were taken with 9 kilometres to go. Part of the early breakaway, Andrea Piccolo (EF Education-EasyPost) was still at the front at that point – the 22 year-old Italian thus takes La Roja from his young compatriot Lorenzo Milesi (DSM-Firmenich), who suffered a crash earlier in the stage.
The race starts in very humid conditions with rains pouring in the Barcelona area, so much so that the start proper is pushed by 800 metres while it is established that the times for the general classification will be taken 9 kilometres before the finish.
The conditions don’t stop the attackers, who immediately find a suitable terrain to battle as the race starts with the cat-3 climb to Coll de Sant Bartomeu. Javier Romo (Astana Qazaqstan) takes the first KOM points, ahead of Joel Nicolau (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Matteo Sobrero (Jayco AlUla). Andrea Piccolo (EF Education-EasyPost) and Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH) join them to make it a 5-man breakaway.
Attackers battle for the KOM points, DSM-Firmenich control
Lorenzo Milesi’s DSM-Firmenich drive the bunch. The gap hits a maximum of 3’24’’ at km 30 and drops down to 1’30’’ atop the cat-2 climb of Coll d’Estenalles (km 66.3). Sobrero goes first at the summit, bringing his tally to 6 points. Romo is tied with him but the Italian rouleur has the edge since he went first atop a cat-2 climb, while the Spaniard dominated a cat-3 ascent.
DSM-Firmenich keep controlling the situation on the downhill and the valley towards Barcelona. Jason Osborne (Alpecin-Deceuninck) supports them while a handful of favourites (Evenepoel, Thomas, Vingegaard…) are momentarily dropped due to mechanicals.
An intense finale crowns Kron
The intensity increases inside the last 40 kilometres. DSM-Firmenich push hard to defend their positions in the GC. Unfortunately, their British wonderkid Oscar Onley crashes out of the race and Lorenzo Milesi also hits the deck. The young Italian keeps on riding with blood on his left elbow.
While their breakaway companions are dropped, Piccolo (the best classified rider on GC among the attackers, with a gap of 6’’) and Romo (trailing by 17’’) reach the 9-km-to-go mark with a lead of 18’’. Groupama-FDJ then bring the peloton to them with 8km to go.
Andreas Kron (Lotto Dstny) attacks on the steepest ramps of the climb of Montjuic (0.9km at 9.4%) and nobody can follow the Danish puncheur, who soloes to victory ahead of Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck), the fastest man from the chase group. Meanwhile, Piccolo safely makes it to the finish and takes La Roja as the new overall leader ahead of the first mountain stage of La Vuelta 23, on Monday in Andorra. – www.lavuelta.es