Strong wind and high speeds defined stage 17 with a large, almost 50-rider strong, group breaking off the front of the peloton in the early and extending an advantage of over four minutes after 70 kilometers, of the 219.6-kilometer course.
Koch and Van Hooydonck represented CCC Team in the move that continued to push forward but with some riders threatening the General Classification, the chase eventually began to pick up once the gap reached more than six minutes.
More intense racing saw both the front group and the peloton split heading into the second half of the day and with 60 kilometers to go, Koch was one of 30 leaders that was still over five minutes ahead of the first part of the main bunch with the rest of CCC Team.
While the General Classification battle continued behind the leaders, Jonas continued to work hard to help drive the group, which eventually went on to fight for the stage win, towards the finish after racing at an average speed of over 50 kilometers per hour all day.
The sprint launched early on the drag up to the line but CCC Team’s German rider was able to show that he is still in strong form at this late stage of the race, powering towards the line to take sixth behind eventual winner, Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
Quotes From the Finish Line
“Of course, you are always looking to finish on the podium or, at least, with a top three result but it was definitely not easy to do that today. At first, I was with Nathan in the front group and then after more crosswinds, the group split again and I was along out in front. It was not easy especially as the stage was 220 kilometers long and the pace was really fast right from the beginning. In the end, I missed a little punch but I was happy with what I could do today, staying with that front group was difficult at times.”
“Our goal was to have someone in the breakaway today especially as we have seen that breakaways have been allowed to go at this race. Nathan and I managed to be there and so we executed our plan to the best of our abilities.”
Vuelta a España
Stage 17: Aranda de Duero > Guadalajara (219.6km)
Top 3: 1. Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) 2. Sam Bennett (BORA – hansgrohe) 3. Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick-Step)
CCC Team Top 3: 6. Jonas Koch 53. Nathan Van Hooydonck 67. Szymon Sajnok