Nairo Quintana wins Stage 2 from a Late Breakaway of Favorites
Six big favorites flew away on the final second categorized climb as peloton exploded on a hot, long stage
The second stage saw a breakaway of saw four riders including Sander Armee (Lotto Soudal), Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Burgos-Bh), Willem Jakobus Smit (Katusha-Alpecin) get awat and build up a lead of 5 minutes.
But as the peloton crossed line for the final 42 kms their lead was coming down near a minute and they were swallowed up just before the 2nd category climb with 28 kms to go.
avide de Formilo presses on with Pierre La Tour with George Bennett following on the steep slopes as the Peloton exploded.
Next up Valverde picked up the pace and around 20 riders, including most of the favorites were in this front group on the descent.
Five favorites GC riders went away; Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Rigoberto Urán (Education First), Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) and Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton Scott) and built up a 37s lead with 2.5 kms to go as Fabio Aru joined them.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) attacked and the others hesitated and didn't organize a proper chase.
Quintana crossed the line ahead of Nicolas Roche, Primoz Roglic, Rigoberto Uran, Fabio Aru and Mikel Nieve.
Nicolas Roche took over the Red Leader's jersey as the GC battle heats up.
Nairo Quintana said afterwards, "It was kind of a different finish, and a very beautiful one. I had never won like that so far in my career - there's always a first time, isn't there? A special day for me, and one that I really needed to happen. It was also a massive boost for the team, which deserved this from so long. We've been working all day, in great harmony, with Alejandro and all of our team-mates doing so well - and we got that prize we deserved."
"We didn't expect the front split in the Puig Llorença to be such a small group - we expected to have a sprint stage, maybe with a quite restricted peloton, but still with some sprinters there. Alejandro and I tried to make those moves after the top, going one rider at a time, and once that six-man group went away, I tried to keep taking turns so the pace didn't stop. I found a moment to attack and didn't hesitate nor looked behind: if it sticked, great, and if it didn't, at least I would have been trying."
"We're only two days into this race; there's so much still left, we must not get too optimistic with this win. It's a joy we will surely enjoy, because of the morale it gives you, and it will surely make the team ride calmer and stronger. But there's all mountains still to cover in this Vuelta."
VIDEO: 2019 La Vuelta Stage 2 Highlights
2019 La Vuelta Stage 2 Top 10
1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 5:11:17
2 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sunweb 5:11:22
3 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma
4 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First
5 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott 5:11:25
7 Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) Equipo Euskadi 5:11:54
8 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
9 Alexander Aranburu Deba (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
2019 La Vuelta GC after Stage 2
1 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sunweb 5:26:12
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:02
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First 0:00:08
4 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:22
5 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:00:33
6 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:36
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:38
8 Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) Equipo Euskadi 0:00:40
9 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:46
10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe