(Reuters) - France’s Nacer Bouhanni claimed the eighth stage of the Tour of Spain with a perfectly timed sprint on Saturday.
The FDJ.fr rider made his move with about 300 meters left in the 207-km ride from Baeza to Albacete to beat Australian Michael Matthews and Slovakian Peter Sagan, who were second and third respectively.
It was Bouhanni’s second victory on the Vuelta this year.
“The last 50 kilometers were very very long, it was a very fast pace,” said Bouhanni.
“I saw an opening with 300 meters left so I launched my sprint. I usually wait until the last 200 meters but I was afraid I would be boxed in.”
There was a scare for pre-race favorite Nairo Quintana as the Colombian rider was caught behind when the peloton split following the BMC team’s acceleration in crosswinds 12 kilometers from the finish.
Quintana was on his own and had no Movistar team mate to help him move back into the leading bunch. He eventually made it back after Giant-Shimano riders made the effort to rejoin the pack.
His team mate Alejandro Valverde of Spain still leads the overall standings with Quintana 15 seconds back.Spaniard Alberto Contador is third, 18 seconds off the pace, with Briton Chris Froome fourth, two seconds further back.
Writing by Julien Pretot, editing by Pritha Sarkar