Team LottoNL Jumbo rider Victor Campenaerts was in the escape of the day during the seventh stage of the Vuelta a España. The Belgian joined five other riders. In the last 50 kilometers, the peloton closed the gap and it became a sprint in Puebla de Sanabria. Belgian Jonas Vangenechten (IAM Cycling) won the stage and Darwin Atapuma (BMC) retained the lead.
"The plan was to have a rider in the breakaway and we succeeded," said Sports Director Addy Engels. "Koen Bouwman made the first escape, but that group was caught quickly. Then the break of the day left and we had Victor Campenaerts in it.
"It's a gamble on a good outcome if you go in these kind of stages in the breakaway. It's always wait and see what the sprinters' teams will do, but you have to make the break to have a chance. The sprinters' teams put men in the lead and the gap remained around three minutes. Then you try to ensure that the leading group maintains some reserves to accelerate in the final, but when Astana leads the peloton you know it's over."
"I felt good and was happy that I could go along with the escape," said Campenaerts. "Of course, you hope that the sprinters' teams are not interested in this stage. But if you see the gap remains the same, you know that the peloton is controling the break.
"With only 40 kilometers to go, suddenly there was the pack and I tried with Mate (Cofidis) to stay as long as possible in front, but that was just for fun. With Astana on the front and with 40 kilometres to go, you know it does not make sense anymore."
"I have a good feeling and I hope that I can hold this the coming weeks, I look forward to the time trial in the last week. I wonder how my legs will feel in my first grand tour."
"Today, we managed to lose no time with George Bennett, tomorrow we have the same goal," Engels said. "Tomorrow is for the GC. We will ride tomorrow as a team for George Bennett with the hope that he stays in the GC. But if that does not happen, we'll come up with another plan."
Engels added that the plans had to be reviewed after the loss of Kruijswijk.