Tour (12th) / Pologne (4th)
Valverde and Costa search for the day’s winning breakaway in the long, tough Alps closer in the Tour – Madrazo most combative rider at day’s escape on Polish turf
The two Movistar Team blocks competing simultaneously this week at the Tour de France and the Tour de Pologne took the squad’s jersey to the front of the race awaiting for their winning chances in the upcoming days. At the Grande Boucle, Alejandro Valverde and Rui Costa took a shot at the fore through the Grand Cucheron, the first of two big climbs in the event’s longest stage -226k from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Annonay Davézieux-, pursuing a 19-rider breakaway that splitted up afterwards in the passage through the Cat. 1 Granier, with only five survivors: Martínez (EUS), Gautier (EUC), Kiserlovski (AST), Péraud (ALM) and Millar (GRS), the latter two making the decisive move in the final slope that would give the Scot another GT win. The bunch, after a hellish first half of the race, took a small rest and came eight minutes behind the leaders before a flat day on Saturday en route to Le Cap d’Agde (216km), with coastal wind as the main threat in the finale.
In turn, the action on Polish soil had Spaniard Ángel Madrazo as the main protagonist of the day. The young Movistar Team rider made the moves in the opening phase of a short stage four -127k between Bedzin and an 8-lap city circuit in Katowice- in company of Kurek (UNA), Andriato (FAR) and Verschoor (TT1), an adventure lasting until the final two passes with a maximum gap of three minutes -which allowed Madrazo becoming the virtual leader for most of the stage- that was controlled by a furious peloton that witnessed the bunch sprint victory by Lithuanian Aidis Kruopis (OGE). Sergio Pardilla, Giovanni Visconti and Javi Moreno are still 12 seconds behind local hero Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQ), the new yellow jersey of the race via bonus seconds, in the eve of the two GC-deciding stages: the one on Saturday, over 164k and six categorized climbs in Zakopane, and the Queen one at Bukowina Tatrzanska on Sunday.