Černý was joined in the finale by Matteo Trentin, who finished in ninth place, after a strong showing of teamwork from CCC Team with Patrick Bevin and Kamil Małecki riding on the front to set Černý and Trentin up for the finale.
An initial two-rider breakaway was neutralized by attacks on the Alto Collado Bermejo, the toughest of four climbs spread across the 179-kilometer stage, when five riders gained an advantage of more than one minute inside the final 40 kilometers.
A seven-rider chase group, which featured the CCC Team quartet of Černý, Trentin, Bevin, and Małecki, as well as race leader Xandro Meurisse (WGT), forged on behind while up ahead, Alejandro Valervede (MOV) and Lennard Kämna (BOH) attacked to drop the rest of the breakaway and maintained a one-minute lead with 20 kilometers to go.
With numbers on their side and excellent teamwork from Bevin and Małecki, the chase group closed in on the duo to eventually make the catch 13 kilometers from the finish line to form a nine-rider leading group, featuring Černý and Trentin.
With both the stage win and General Classification to play for, multiple riders attacked in the finale but it was an attack from Luis Léon Sánchez (AST) under the flamme rouge that proved to be the winning move while Černý battled on just behind, sprinting to third place on the stage and moving up to second overall behind Meurisse, who defended his jersey.
Despite working hard for Černý and Trentin, Małecki and Bevin led the chase group home five and half minutes later, showing their early season form to finish in 10th and 12th place respectively.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“We were really strong as a team all day. When Valverde and Kämna had attacked, we had four riders in the chase group and the guys from Astana Pro Team also helped with the chase, so we were able to bring the groups back together for the finale. We wanted to race for the General Classification with me, and go for the stage win with Matteo Trentin but there were a lot of attacks in the finale and Sánchez was really strong. I tried to follow him but I had no more power left after the tough stage, but I am happy with third place again.”
“After coming back from Australia, I continued to train well and I have been feeling good on the bike so I was expecting to be strong here in Murcia but I never expected to be second overall so, I am really happy. The team kept me in a good position all day, on the climbs and even in the downhill when there were some gaps so this was a team effort.”
“It was a really hard stage because Movistar Team decided to put the hammer down early on. On the main climb of the day, I think we managed it really well because Paddy, Josef, Kamił, and I were in the second group but we came back in the downhill. Then, Paddy and Kamil really smashed the next climb and Josef and I were able to come back to Valverde and Kämna. Team-wise, it was a really good day and we worked well together. We were where we needed to be and we brought back the important move.”
“Of course, the victory would have been better but I found myself without good legs in the last kilometers, which is a pity because I was feeling good until we caught them back. When I tried to respond to some of the attacks, I found that I was basically empty but I was able to make a little gap for Josef so he was able to jump across and get on the wheel. He was super strong today. I think we managed to get almost the best result possible. If I knew I didn’t have the legs a bit earlier, maybe we could have played it a bit different but I think it was a nice two days of racing for Josef with second place in GC and a good performance by the team today. So, we can be happy with that and be confident for the next races.”
Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia
Stage 2 Santomera > Murcia (179.6km)
Top 3: 1. Luis Léon Sánchez (AST), 2. Omar Fraile (AST), 3. Josef Černý (CCC)
CCC Team top 3: 3. Josef Černý, 9. Matteo Trentin, 10. Kamil Małecki
Top 3 on GC: 1. Xandro Meurisse (WGT), 2. Josef Černý (CCC), 3. Lennard Kämna (BOH)
CCC Team top 3 on GC: 2. Josef Černý, 16. Matteo Trentin, 17. Patrick Bevin
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