• Team Sunweb rider Germany's Nikias Arndt celebrates as he win Stage 8 of La Vuelta (Getty)Source: Getty
Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb) powered through the miserable conditions on Stage 8 of the Vuelta a Espana, taking the win from the 21-man breakaway as Nicholas Edet (Cofidis) moved into the race lead.
By
SBS Cycling Central

1 Sep 2019 - 7:34 AM  UPDATED 1 Sep 2019 - 7:35 AM

With the Puerto de Montserrat looming as the main obstacle for the day, the sprinters' teams decided to take the day off with their chosen fast men unlikely to make it over the tough climb. Just under 30 kilometres remained from the summit until the finish, discouraging any attacks from the general classification contenders meaning that the breakaway was given a lot of latitude.

The large group stretched out their advantage until the racing began in earnest on the Puerto de Montserrat, with Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) starting the attacks. Stetina was joined by Fernando Barelo (Euskadi-Murias) as the race approached the summit, with a regrouping to happen on the wet descent towards the finish in Igualada. 

Attacks continued regularly into the finish but the race stayed all together until the final sprint to the line which saw Arndt emerge from the wheel of Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) to take the win ahead of Alex Aranburu (Caja-Rural) and Tosh van der Sande (Soudal Lotto).

“It’s amazing,” said Arndt. “Yesterday I said I wanted to go in the breakaway today but to be there and to take the win is unbelievable; I’m super happy.

"Martijn (Tusveld) helped me really well and the team worked great together. I think we played it very smart, with Martijn in the break who could attack while I sat back and waited for the sprint.

Nikias Arndt post-Stage 8

"It was good that he was up front in the closing kilometres so I could save some energy. In the finale I was just following all of the attacks and stayed in the game. I felt really good and I knew I was fast enough to win the sprint from the break, so I had to keep it together. It’s definitely one of my best days in my career so far.” 

Edet was the best-placed of the riders from the breakaway, and with the peloton giving the break over nine minutes advantage by the finish. The Cofidis rider now leads the race by two minutes and 21 seconds over former leader Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Merida) who also made up significant time as part of the breakaway.