Frenchman Florian Senechal outsprinted a reduced field to win stage 13 of the Vuelta a Espana on Friday after his Deceuninck Quick Step teammate Fabio Jakobsen failed to keep pace in the run in due to a flat tyre.
Senechal was part of Jakobsen’s lead out team and won the stage ahead of Italian pair Matteo Trentin and Alberto Dainese with Norway’s Odd Christian Eiking retaining the overall lead.
Slightly built Ineos leader Egan Bernal also sprung a small surprise to gain a few seconds on his overall rivals when he managed to keep up with the front clique as the rest of the peloton got dropped in a late split.
On a sizzling day with temperatures tipping towards 37C (98F) a headwind and a fast closing space caused several fissures in the peloton.
So much so that the Belgian outfit leading the peloton actually dropped their own sprinter Jakobsen as 15 riders broke away in the final kilometre at a roundabout.
“We did a perfect lead-out for Fabio and he said on the radio he had a flat tyre or something and said ‘Florian you can sprint’,” Senechal said.
“It’s crazy. I am lucky today and I am very happy for my family, friends and my wife.”
Green jersey sprint points leader Jakobsen was aiming for his third stage win here and took maximum points at the day’s intermediate sprint just 5km outside town.
The weekend’s action should see a change in the lead and even a shake up in the overall standings as it provides two huge mountain challenges with two category 1 climbs on both Saturday and Sunday.