American riders took over the final of stage 2 of the Volta a Portugal on Friday, with Scott McGill (Wildlife Generation) sprinting to victory in the uphill finish shortly after Human Powered Health duo Joey Rosskopf and Kyle Murphy had been out in a late attack.
32-year-old McGill scored the first win of his young career in Elvas, outpacing a reduced group after a mass crash had held up a chunk of the peloton 2km from the line.
“It’s my first victory ever so I’m very excited. Honestly it feels relieving, if anything,” McGill said after the stage.
“It was super hot all day. When we got here it was cold by the coast so I thought it would be not as hot. We had plenty of water and the guys kept me fed and well hydrated so all I had to in the end was sprint.
“Everyone was all in for me. They did a great job and I just had to finish it off.”
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Race leader Rafael Reis (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) was among the riders held up in the fall, though the 30-year-old will continue in the yellow jersey tonight thanks to the 3km rule.
British 21-year-old Oliver Rees (Trinity Racing) continued his impressive start to the race, following up his third in the Lisbon prologue with second behind McGill. João Matias (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) took third place after finishing just behind Rees.
Disaster was narrowly averted in the final dash for the line, as a spectator on the course at the 200-metres to go mark clambered back over the barriers just in time to avoid the peloton.
Rosskopf, who was fourth in the prologue, was the last man standing from the late Human Powered Health attack, getting caught just after the crash out front. He and Murphy – who won two stages last year – had been out in the move having counter-attacked after the original breakaway was caught 14km from the line.
Despite the pair’s best efforts, however, they couldn’t hang on to take home the win for their team, the day’s honours instead going to McGill from the group of 32.
While Reis continues in yellow, McGill will now don the green points jersey. Hugo Nunes (Rádio Popular-Paredes-Boavista) wears the polka dot KOM jersey after his day in the break, while Rees is in white as best young rider.
The Volta continues on Saturday with a 181.5km stage from Badajoz in Spain to the cobbled uphill finish at Castelo Branco.
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