Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) celebrates stage 2 victory at the 2021 Vuelta a España.

Stage 2 winner Jasper Philipsen: ‘This was the first big goal’

Alpecin-Fenix are just getting started at the Vuelta a España.

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Stage 2 of the Vuelta a España ended as expected, with a bunch sprint in Burgos. The finale was hotly contested after a fast run-in, and it was Jasper Philipsen who took victory for Alpecin-Fenix.

“It’s unbelievable. Of course it was a dream, but I didn’t dare to think about it,” Philipsen said post-stage. “The chance that it will succeed is always less than [the chance] it actually happens. This shows how highly motivated everyone was for that first sprint. This was an achievement by the whole team. We can be proud of this.”

This result means that Alpecin-Fenix have won stage 2 of all three 2021 Grand Tours with three different riders: Tim Merlier at the Giro d’Italia, Mathieu van der Poel at the Tour de France, and now Jasper Philipsen at the Vuelta.

Alpecin-Fenix are always happy to take control on sprint stages, and they were all over the finale on Sunday’s race to Burgos, the ProTeam sharing responsibility with Deceuninck-QuickStep.

“It was amazing to see all my teammates there,” said Philipsen. “Everybody was in the front line, so I had a lot of support from the team. This is how we can win sprints, and I think we did a really good job. Each of us can be very happy tonight.”

Philipsen was something of a nearly man at the Tour de France, netting no less than six podium finishes, including an agonising second place on the Champs-Élysées. But the Vuelta a España has proved happy hunting ground for the young Belgian, who won stage 15 in 2020

Philipsen now wears the green jersey of points classification leader, and with 19 stages to go, he and Alpecin-Fenix have a lot more to give.

“This was the first big goal, and I’m already really happy that it worked out in the first sprint. Now we just go on and we try to get other ones, I think not only in the sprints, but on other terrains.”

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