Adam de Vos had a career defining ride on stage 1 of Vuelta Murcia on Friday, sprinting uphill to a second place finish ahead of his WorldTour breakaway companions. The man effectionately known as the "Sneaky Fox", disappeared up the road with nine others early in the day, never to be seen again. After nearly an hour of attacks, the breakaway reached the foot of the final cobbled climb intact where de Vos kicked off in pursuit of eventual stage winner Xandro Meurisse (Circus - Wanty Gobert) to finish second. De Vos moved into second place overall and now leads the Metas Volantes sprint competition.
Starting in the coastal spa town of Los Alcázares, the peloton headed north to Sierra de la Pila Regional Park before turning west towards the uphill finale in Caravaca de la Cruz.
Three categorized climbs and two intermediate sprints spread out over an undulating course in southeastern Spain.
Perfect. Sunny and 70°F with little wind.
Quote of the day
"That was probably the hardest bit of biking I’ve ever done. The last 30 km we had such a huge gap we were able to really mess around. I don’t think there was more than a couple actual paceline pulls, the only way we were moving forward was haymaker attacks."
- Pier-André Coté tries his hand at an attack in the opening kilometers but his group grows in size and is chased down. Matteo Dal-Cin and Nigel Ellsay follow suit.
- Adam de Vos counters and goes clear with nine others including representatives from Movistar and Astana, both of which dominated the 2019 edition.
- De Vos contests both Metas Volantes points (intermediate sprints) and is tied on points with Antonio Jesus Soto (Fundación - Orbea).
- With 30 km remaining and the gap over the peloton eclipsing 10 minutes, breakaway riders begin to attack each other, over and over.
- Breakaway enters Caravaca de la Cruz intact and turn onto cobbled climb to the finish. Xandro Meurisse (Circus - Wanty Gobert) is first to attack as de Vos attempts to close the gap, eventually finishing an impressive second on the stage and earning the Metas Volantes jersey on countback.
The general classification at the Vuelta Murcia is now a 10 rider competition with the peloton finishing nearly 17 minutes down on stage 1. With a massive 13 km climb averaging six percent halfway through the second and final stage, the team will rally around de Vos to help preserve his position in the overall. De Vos admits it was a very difficult day for everyone in the breakaway but knows he has the full support of the team heading into Saturday's climbing heavy finale, "the plan will be to keep the team around me on the climbs and I’ll ride as hard as I can to stay with the leaders."