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"I was waiting the whole Vuelta for this day"

Mountain goat Stefan Denifl wins Vuelta stage at Los Machucos
Austrian Aqua Blue Sport rider Stefan Denifl has impressively won Vuelta stage 17, finishing at Los Machucos. He conquered the climb, which is considered one of the toughest of all grand tours this season, with ramps until 28% as the last survivor of the early breakaway. “I had super, super legs and I was waiting the whole Vuelta for this day to come”, said an exhausted winner.

One day after a 40,2 km long time trial the Vuelta riders were served another leg-breaking stage to Alto de los Machucos in Arredondo. Starting from Villadiego in Northern Spain they had to cover 180,5 km before finishing stage 17. Ten minutes after the official start three courageous riders were in for the early breakaway: Alessandro De Marchi, Stefan Denifl and Daniel Moreno. Alaphilippe, Cort Nielsen and KOM jersey Villella were able to close the gap afterwards and got upfront. The Cannondale-based Italian seemed mainly interested in collecting points on top of the Portillo de Lunada, as he removed himself from the group in the 35 km long descent before taking back his place in the peloton. Three of the remaining riders, Alaphilippe, De Marchi and Moreno, already proved in the past to be capable of winning a Vuelta stage. Denifl had already won the Tour of Austria, where he showed strong climbing legs earlier this year. Cort Nielsen got behind on the second climb and four riders were about to hit the final kilometers uphill. Alaphilippe and De Marchi were dropped as Moreno attacked, with Denifl in his slipstream. With more than 5 km to go the Aqua Blue rider took over and the Spaniard couldn’t take his wheel.

In the back Contador attacked from the group Froome and the multiple grand tour winner created a gap of almost a minute. Second per second he also tried to close the 55” gap on Denifl, in order to take the win. The Austrian although proved to be very tough and kept a 28” bonus on El Pistolero at the finish line. Denifl throwed his hands in the air and gained the biggest win of his career! What a performance for his newborn ProContinental team Aqua Blue Sport.

The Austrian victor obviously went through the best day of his cycling life. “I can’t believe it, I had super, super legs today and I was waiting the whole race for this day to come. The whole Vuelta I paced myself and today I went all in. It’s just amazing. For me and my team, Aqua Blue. We’re at our first grand tour here and we’re already winning a stage. I’m over the moon”, said a delighted and exhausted winner.