Volta a Catalunya (st. 4)
After Valverde’s abandon, the Colombian becomes Movistar Team’s leader in Catalonia, makes huge attack in Port Aine to jump into 3rd overall
Following his impressive victory yesterday at the climb of Vallter 2000, and now forced to take over the leadership of the Movistar Team after Alejandro Valverde’s abandon due to a crash, Nairo Quintana showed again his great fitness level during the Queen stage of the 93rd Volta a Catalunya. The Colombian rider claimed the day’s 3rd spot at Port-Ainé, an HC climb at the end of a 217-kilometer trek from Llanars. The day, marked by Valverde’s crash at around km 115 and a long, 25-rider breakaway including José Herrada, was bound to be decided into the 20k final ascent. There, Irish rider Daniel Martin (GRS), the best GC rider into the escape, 9th just 30 seconds off Valverde- split the group into pieces, and only a great Herrada could keep his wheel before dropping with 7k from the end, Martin on a mission for the day’s victory and the leader’s jersey.
Behind, when Herrada was about to be caught by the favourites’ group, less than 3k from the summit, Quintana jumped strong and reached a serious advantage that could only be bridged by Rodríguez (KAT), the local hero joining the Colombian into a pursuit they could not finish off -Nairo took a minute off Martin in the last 3km after his move-, but still allowing them gaining almost thirty seconds over the other big favourites. Martin is now in the lead with 10 seconds over Rodríguez and 32 above Quintana, the Movistar Team having a small margin over his nearest rivals to claim a first WorldTour overall podium that was neglected to him at Paris-Nice this season due to a crash. Mountains will vanish from the Volta’s scenery tomorrow on stage five, with 157km from Rialp to Lleida favouring the sprinters.