Vuelta a España (st. 4)
Valverde climbs another place up in the overall, is now in 5th after chaotic finish in Fisterra rewards Moreno (KAT). Nibali (AST) back into leader’s jersey
In a day suiting power riders better than uphill sprinters, Dani Moreno (KAT) surprised the main favourites winning at the slopes of Fisterra, end of stage four of the Vuelta a España after 189 kilometers starting at Lalín / A Estrada. The Madrilian went on the attack with 800m remaining and overtook Flecha (VCD) and an agressive José Herrada, one of the day’s main protagonists into yet another lumpy parcours dominated by the Mirador de Ézaro (Cat-3), which broke the peloton into pieces with 35k from the finish.
The Movistar Team initially took command of the first echelon of about 40 riders, trying to keep the pace high with Herrada, Capecchi and Alejandro Valverde, but the regrouping from behind forced the Blues to change their strategy and put Herrada into a six-man breakaway -along with Sánchez (BEL), Nerz (BMC), Vicioso (KAT), Edet (COF) and Txurruka (CJR)- which didn’t stick either.
At the sprint, Valverde (11th) came safely through a split letting half of the bunch six seconds behind, and jumped a step further in the overall -the Murcian is now in 5th- while Vincenzo Nibali (AST) took over Chris Horner’s (RLT) red jersey. The Vuelta will be leaving Galicia on Wednesday with stage five: 174km between Sober and the Lago de Sanabria, over the Cat-3 ascents of Covelo and Pardonelo.
REACTION / Alejandro Valverde: “It was another important day, one to pay attention especially due to crosswinds. The finish surprised me a bit because it was harder than I expected. Dani was brilliant today, he took quite an amazing victory – hats off to him. None of the main favourites took bonus seconds and that’s good. Even though it seemed like that, it wasn’t a more calm stage than yesterday’s, especially looking at the terrain following the Ezaro climb and the approach to the finishing bump.
“We’re leaving Galicia tomorrow with a good overview on these opening four days. We were strong, took a second and a fifth place, we’re on the top board of the standings… sensations are good and we hope to keep it going. Now it’s time for three stages that seem a bit easier before what’s coming up in the weekend, but you can’t take a minute’s relax here – we’ll have to keep focused.“
Bouhanni takes first blood in Saintes
Behind the spotlight of the Vuelta, the Movistar Team keeps doubling its force through Europe as it started the 27th Tour du Poitou-Charentes (UCI 2.1) in central France on Tuesday with 198km from Saint Maixent L’École to Saintes. Local Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) was the fastest into a sprint of nearly the full bunch, with Andrey Amador coming across as the top Blue finisher in 17th. Wednesday will bring 182km with the small climb of Torsac (1.2km at 6%) just 11km from Angoulème’s finish, preceeding the double sector -with an evening TT- set to decide the GC outcome on Thursday.