Race report

Nikias Arndt fights to 6th at Vuelta over Basque climbs

Vuelta a España

After yesterday’s punchy finale, the second day of racing in the Basque Country saw the bunch faced with the toughest stage so far; a 187 kilometre route from Irún to Bilbao that featured almost 3000 metres of elevation and a tricky finish circuit with the Alto del Vivero ascent. A potentially good day for the breakaway to go and take the win, it was a fierce fight to make the move, as attack after attack went at the head of the peloton.

The team were very active in trying to make the split with Mark Donovan in one of the early moves that was ultimately brought back. Eventually after 70 kilometres of racing and an incredible fight, Nikias Arndt forge on and made it into a large break of 18 to represent the team. Immediately hitting the climbs after forming the break, their gap held steady at two minutes for a while before it slowly went out. Despite a reduction in gap on the first ascent of Alto del Vivero, it soon ballooned out and it was clear the break would fight for the win.

As a result the pace increased in the break as more attacks flew and Arndt dug deep; cresting the ascent to make the now reduced front group of 12 as they heard the bell and made the approach to the climb once more. On the valley road before the climb Stewart attacked out of the group and built up a 40 second advantage, meaning that the tempo in the chasing group was high on the final ascent. Like on the first passage, Arndt dug deep and hung on for as long as possible before dropping into the second group of pursuers, with now lone leader Soler out front going onto the descent.

Working well together, Arndt’s group caught the first chasing group with two kilometres to go but at that point the group had swelled too much and despite some late attacks, Soler would hold on for the win. In the group behind, Arndt gave everything he had to the line to take a fighting sixth place finish.

“It was a really really tough day,” expressed Arndt. “I think we were jumping and attacking for one and a half hours. We actually tried to cover it with the whole team; John was there, Marco was there, I tried – we were all basically in one move at some point, it was a super hard start. I ended up in the group of 18 and went full for the stage win but the last climb was pretty hard. I got a little bit distanced and made it back but Soler was already solo in front so the stage win was gone. I tried my best in the sprint but I was pretty tired. We were up there though and sixth place is a good result to build on and I hope there is more to come.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 SOLER Marc UAE Team Emirates 4:15:23 100
2 IMPEY Daryl Israel - Premier Tech 0:04 40
3 WRIGHT Fred Bahrain - Victorious ,, 20
6 ARNDT Nikias Team DSM ,, -
42 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM 5:09 -
104 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 9:47 -
117 HVIDEBERG Jonas Iversby Team DSM 11:39 -
120 BRENNER Marco Team DSM 13:24 -
127 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team DSM ,, -
142 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM 16:47 -
173 VANDENABEELE Henri Team DSM ,, -