Senechal sprints to shock victory in stage 13 of Vuelta

Frenchman holds off late challenge from Trentin to secure unlikely maiden world tour victory

 Florian Senechal from Deceuninck- Quick-Step celebrates winning the 13th stage of the  Vuelta a Espana. Photograph: Manuel Bruque/EPA

Florian Senechal from Deceuninck- Quick-Step celebrates winning the 13th stage of the Vuelta a Espana. Photograph: Manuel Bruque/EPA

 

Florian Senechal sprinted to an unlikely maiden world tour victory in stage 13 of the Vuelta a Espana on Friday.

The Frenchman held off a late challenge from UAE Team Emirates’s Matteo Trentin to secure glory on the 203.7km flat stage from Belmez to Villanueva de la Serena.

It had appeared as if Deceuninck-Quick-Step were setting up their speedster Fabio Jakobsen for a stage victory. However the Dutchman lost contact with his train just under 1km from the finish after getting a flat tyre, allowing team mate Senechal to push on for the win.

“I don’t know [what to think]. We did everything perfectly for Fabio, but he said on the radio there was a gap and he just told me ‘sprint, Florian!’,” Senechal said.

“I don’t know what to say at the moment – it’s crazy! I had to keep calm and was expecting people to come past me, but nobody passed me.”

An uneventful stage saw a three-man breakaway containing Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH), Alvaro Cuadros (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Luis Angel Mate (Euskaltel-Euskadi) push ahead early on but they were caught with 25km to go by the peloton before the late drama.

Norway’s Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux) retained the leader’s red jersey, keeping his 58 seconds lead over Frenchman Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and 1:56 advantage over Slovenian reigning champion Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) as the race heads into the mountains in its final week.

Saturday sees a summit finish as the race goes 165.7km from Don Benito to Pico Villuercas on stage 14.

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