After two weeks of competition and a series of demanding mountainous stages, the race came back onto flatter terrain with a 188-kilometer stage which featured only one category three climb.
Many sprinters’ teams were motivated to bring the race to a bunch sprint and kept a six-man breakaway on a short leash, with the gap never exceeding 2 minutes 30 seconds.
CCC Team’s riders were riding in the peloton, protecting their leader for the stage, Sajnok, and making sure he arrived at the finish as fresh as possible.
The leading group got caught with 4.5 kilometers to go and from that point on it was all about positioning for the finish.
CCC Team did a good job of making sure that Sajnok was right up near the front and thanks to that effort he and Koch were able to avoid a big crash that happened inside the flamme rouge.
The peloton broke into pieces but fortunately, CCC Team’s duo was on the right side of the split and after the chaotic fight to the line, Koch finished seventh and Sajnok was tenth behind the winner, Sam Bennett (BORA – hansgrohe).
Quotes from the Finish Line
“I think the whole team did a really good job with Paweł and Nathan keeping us out of the trouble and Fran positioning Szymon very well. I lost contact with them but, then there was this big pile up and I managed to come around it. I think I was one of the last guys who managed to avoid it and from then, it was just full gas to the line. I tried to lead out Szymon in the finale but, it got so messy that all I could do was go flat out. The last kilometer was uphill, until 300 meters to go so it was not a typical sprint.”
“Finally, there was another opportunity for the sprinters but, I was not expecting that the last bump, with 500 meters to go, would be so steep. It was definitely not a typical sprint and it didn’t unfold in the usual way. On that short hill, I was just following the wheel of the rider in front of me and I waited to launch the sprint but, when the road kicked up, four riders broke clear and this is when the stage was lost. It’s a pity since there are not too many opportunities and today I didn’t take advantage of one. I hope to get through all the mountain stages and showcase myself in flatter terrain.”
“I came to this race with the ambition to win because I believe I have what it takes. That’s my goal. I haven’t been able to accomplish that yet but, I’m happy with my form and that I’m always up there in the sprint, within the top ten. I hope that one day when the form is right and the luck is on my side, I’ll be able to finish among the best.”
Stage 14: San Vincenta de la Barquera > Oviedo (188km)
Top 3: 1. Sam Bennett (BORA – hansgrohe) 2. Maximiliano Richeze (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 3. Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal)
CCC Team Top 3: 7. Jonas Koch 10. Szymon Sajnok 88. Will Barta 92. Patrick Bevin