Those who were in front of their TV this Tuesday afternoon had reasons to be delighted. The stage between Vitoria-Gasteiz and Villanueva de Valdegovia offered everything that cycling fans love. A race full of twists and turns that ended with a battle between the strongest riders. And in the heart of this completely wild day, the Cofidis team showed itself like never before.
Most represented team in the breakaway
Pierre-Luc Périchon and Victor Lafay were the first to enter the breakaway after one hour of racing. Then, José Herrada and Guillaume Martin, in a chasing group, finally joined it on the climb of Puerto de Orduna.
The riders had to climb this first category mountain pass twice and Guillaume Martin was 2nd each time at the top of the climb. As a result, the rider from Normandy took some precious points in the mountain classification, enough to take the lead.
Martin’s 1st distinctive jersey on a Grand Tour
But he didn't stop there. Guillaume took off at the front of the race with four other riders - Valverde, Woods, Peters and Fraile - all of them already winners of a stage on the Big Tour. The rider from Normandy attacked several times before finishing in the 5th place. For the third time in a row on this Vuelta, he is in the 'top 10'.
At the finish, Guillaume Martin was able to take the polka-dot jersey of best climber, his first distinctive jersey on the Big Tour. A nice reward also for the incredible collective work of his team-mates. From now on, everyone will work hard to 'defend' this jersey on the roads of the Vuelta.
Guillaume MARTIN: "I enjoyed myself and I hurt myself too (laughs)! On this Vuelta, there are some wild stages. I think it's nice to watch on TV and it's nice to be the actor too. I am enjoying the freedom to race and I've been in the breakaway for three stages in a row.
It wasn't necessarily planned today, but there was a movement at the foot of the 1st climb of the day. So I was able to integrate the breakaway and gain some points in the mountain classification. I put in a lot of effort and tried to finish in the best possible way. Of course, we will do everything to keep the jersey of the best climber!"
Christian GUIBERTEAU, sports director: "We really showed incredible collective strength. We were the best represented team in the breakaway. It's really nice to see that. It was a crazy stage from start to finish. Guillaume, who for a moment wasn't feeling at his best, was able to get his strength back in the last climb.
He won the jersey of the best climber and showed that he is still going strong. This jersey is a nice present to salute all the efforts of Guillaume and the team. From now on, we will try to defend it day after day!"