VILLANUEVA DE LA SERENA, Spain – Florian Senechal outdueled Matteo Trentin to win the 13th stage of the Spanish Vuelta for his first Grand Tour success on Friday, with Odd Christian Eiking keeping the overall lead for another day.
Senechal, a French rider for Deceuninck-Quick Step, beat Trentin in the final sprint of the 203-kilometer (126-mile) flat stage from Belmez to Villanueva de la Serena in southwestern Spain.
“I stayed calm and I gave the maximum in the last 200 meters,” Senechal said. “I don’t realize yet that I’ve won a Grand Tour stage. It’s crazy.”
Deceuninck-Quick Step had set up for Fabio Jakobsen to sprint to the finish but he couldn’t keep up.
Jakobsen said he told Senechal to go for the victory when he realized he wasn’t going to be able to do so himself.
“I didn’t have the legs to sprint, so I told Florian that he should do the sprint,” Jakobsen said. “I said it on the radio, and I dropped back.”
The top five riders in the general classification finished together 11 seconds back, with Eiking keeping his gap of nearly one minute over Guillaume Martin. Two-time defending Vuelta champion Primoz Roglic stayed third overall, almost two minutes off the lead.
Eiking, a Norwegian rider for Intermarche-Wanty, had taken the leader’s red jersey from Roglic in the 10th stage.
“I want to try and keep the red jersey tomorrow but it depends mostly on Roglic,” Eiking said. “If he decides to stand up and go for it, it’s gonna be difficult but if I’m lucky and if I have the legs I can keep fighting for the jersey.”
Riders on Saturday will face two difficult climbs in the 165.7-kilometer (103-mile) 14th stage in western Spain.