This Sunday, in Santiago de Compostela, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux concluded its incredible crossing of Spain by a 33.8 kilometer individual time trial. This effort against the clock enabled Odd Christian Eiking to secure his 11th place in the general classification and put an end to the team’s unforgettable first participation to the Tour of Spain.
Thanks to Rein Taaramäe on the top of the Picón Blanco, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux took a stage win on the third day and on the same occasion, the leader’s jersey in a Grand Tour for the first time in its history. Thanks to the 34 year old Estonian rider, the jersey was in the hands of the team for two days.
At the end of a “miraculous” breakaway in the tenth stage, Odd Christian Eiking renewed the fairytale by reconquering the jersey in Rincón de la Victoria. Eiking was in the form of his life and thanks to the support of his teammates, the Norwegian rider wore the red jersey for an entire week.
This 76th edition of the Vuelta also had bad luck in store for the team, with crashes involving Taaramäe and Eiking when they were leading the classification, but also Louis Meintjes. The South African rider was forced to abandon at two days of the end, when he was in 10th position in the classification.
The 11th place of Odd Christian Eiking is the best final result in a Grand Tour ever in the team’s history. Sprinter Riccardo Minali, who finished his first Vuelta, just like Wesley Kreder and Kévin van Melsen, sprinted four times to a top 10. Despite a crash in the penultimate stage, also Simone Petilli finished the Vuelta for the first time. Experienced riders Jan Hirt and Rein Taaramäe concluded a Grand Tour for the eighth and tenth time in their careers respectively. Together, the riders under the sportive direction of Valerio Piva and Jean-Marc Rossignon became 5th in the team classification.