Rojas back to front row
23 February 2014

Algarve / Haut Var (final stages)

4th place for Movistar Team sprinter, 32 days after scaphoid injury. Amador -8th in Draguignan-, Antón, Gadret all shine at Haut Var decider

They say that faith can move mountains, and a proof of that could certainly be José Joaquín Rojas, who has got back into the harsh art of hobnobbing against the best sprinters in the world only one month after breaking his wrist in Australia. The Spanish rider from the Movistar Team finished 4th today in Vilamoura on stage five of the 40th Volta ao Algarve, which crowned Polish all-rounder Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQ) as overall victor.

The work by the Movistar Team for their two main sprinters -Rojas himself, as well as Juanjo Lobato (13th)-, took the Murcian back into top places in the finishing straight, only beaten by Cavendish (OPQ), Demare (FDJ) and Coquard (EUC). His ‘volata’ marks the end to a race more sweet than sour for the Blues, who lost their GC chances with Castroviejo’s flat tire in the ITT, yet came close -with ‘Rojillas’ today, with a superb Malori on Friday- to a stage win in our neighboring country.

Close to the other border, at the 46th Tour du Haut Var, the telephone squad fulfilled expectations in a final day in Draguignan (203km) full of small climbs that saw its three main climbing references having a good day. As Thor Hushovd (BMC), the last survivor of the early break, was caught, Igor Antón launched himself into a seven-man group that crested together the col of Tuilières (Cat-2), 15k from the end.

The effort by the Basque rider, who already debuted in his new colours in Mallorca, was continued by a final pursuit from John Gadret and Andrey Amador, 8th at the field sprint happening behind a duo with Amael Moinard -BMC, stage winner- and Carlos Betancur -ALM, race victor-. It was a decent performance by the Costa Rican, who closed the overall top-ten and joined their team-mates on a good impression before the first big races of the 2014 season.