Mas continues to impress at Vuelta a España
The young Spaniard sits in tenth overall ahead of the race's second weekend.
A heated race unfolded in the closing 30 kilometers of stage 7, once the last survivor of the seven-man breakaway got caught by a charging peloton, who was split twice, once on the last climb and then on the descent, not because of the high pace, but as a result of several crashes. Italian Champion Elia Viviani was one of the Quick-Step Floors riders to make the cut, but a short unclassified ascent boasting a steep gradient spelled the end of his hopes as soon as the GC contenders decided to make a move there.
A couple of riders tried to get away, only for the others to react, helped also by the strong headwind and the rolling terrain of the last kilometers. Eventually, following several skirmishes, Tony Gallopin (AG2R) broke clear and held off the chasers, taking a solo victory in Pozo Alcon, a stage finish for the first time in the history of the race.
From the group that arrived five seconds later, best young rider of the race Enric Mas sprinted to eighth – his first top 10 finish at the current edition of his home Grand Tour – a morale-boosting result which came at the end of a testing day, which proved to be much harder and trickier than it looked on paper. The 23-year-old Quick-Step Floors rider will go into the weekend, which schedules a hard mountain top finish on La Covatilla, having retained his tenth place in the overall standings, a handful of seconds ahead of teammate Laurens De Plus, who is 16th.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images