With Friday’s win coming on a full mountain stage and Tuesday’s victory forged on a single climb at the end of a high-speed blast along the Andalusian coast, the Australian climber proved equally confident and capable on both kinds of terrain.
Storer powered out of the leading break of 31 riders on the final second-category ascent of the day, the Puerto de Almachar, and despite having a scant lead of barely 30 seconds at the summit, held on all the way to the finish.
The Australian said his path to victory had been a closely run, finely calculated affair, but that he had played his cards right from the start.
“It was very fast from the beginning, and a lot of people wanted to go in the break and getting in that move was difficult to do,” he said. “But I got ready for the final climb, because I knew I had to be well prepared for that.”
Storer’s move took him past two earlier attacks from the 31-man move, Rui Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates), then Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), and then he had only the mountain and the very difficult descent, to beat.
“I wasn’t sure if I would end up going solo or if there would be more people with me, but I saw the others were suffering and I had that extra bit of gas,” he said. “Luckily enough, I had enough time at the top because it was a long way to the finish, and the downhill was very sticky and dusty.”
Judging his speed on the descent was no easy matter, he said, as he knew that if he crashed, he would rapidly be caught and overtaken by the chasing group. But to his credit, he got the balance spot on and finished with an advantage of 22 seconds on Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Mauri Vansevenant.
Together with Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuckStep) and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Storer is now one of three Vuelta riders to have racked up two stage wins in this year’s race. And if Phlipsen and Jakobsen are already established winners, Storer admitted such a high success rate in such a short space of time was a wholly new experience for him.
“A month ago I had no pro victories, and I wasn’t sure if I’d win a race in the next year or two,” a delighted Storer, whose first wins came in the Tour de L’Ain in late July, said afterwards.
“It’s unbelievable to get two stages like this. But I went for it and it worked out again.”