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DiData heats up at the Vuelta

Merhawi Kudus overcame five categorized climbs and scorching temperatures to finish second on Stage 5.

As in the Tour de France, Team Dimension Data is looking stronger and stronger as the Vuelta a Espana unfolds.

After solid top-20 showings by the squad in the opening team time trial and on stages 2 and 3, Youcef Reguigui sprinted into the top 10 on the 194km sprint-friendly route from Escaldes-Engordany to Tarragona with a powerful kick on his Team Edition S5.

“From 30km to go it was a crazy final with a lot of roundabouts and small roads,” Regugui said. “So we had to fight for position from a long way out. Thanks to team for looking after me in the bunch.”

The going got even tougher on Stage 5 -- so Merhawi Kudus got going! The 175km route from Benicassim to Alcossebre included five categorised climbs, which were made especially challenging by temperatures that nearly topped 40 C.

Kudus was joined by 16 other riders in a strong break that eventually splintered with 50km to go. From his chasing position, Kudus rode clear of his rivals before the final climb and, after dropping the last of the chasers and catching Marco Haller, set his sights on solo leader Alexey Lutesenko. In the end, the climb was not long enough for Kudus to claw back Lutsenko, but a courageous ride nonetheless saw the 23-year-old Eritrean finish second on the stage.

“It was quite hard to be in the breakaway today, spending over four hours in the wind and then having to finish on a very steep climb like that,” Kudus said. “I am very happy with second position though, and I am motivated to take another opportunity now.”

The way things are going for DiData at the Vuelta, we wouldn’t bet against it…