Burgos (st. 2) / Eneco (st. 4)
Lobato takes 10th in Villadiego, stays in GC lead in Vuelta a Burgos after easy day for Quintana and Movistar Team riders prior to Neila. Rojas 11th after grim crash for Stybar (OPQ) in Eneco Tour
‘Calm’ was the main word for Juanjo Lobato, Nairo Quintana and the Movistar Team riders during stage two of the Vuelta a Burgos -152km between Briviesca and Villadiego-. A six-man breakaway under tight control from Imanol Erviti and Rubén Plaza, while the rest of the Blues protected the Spaniard and the Colombian, meant the day was easy for both: Lobato kept the race leadership, despite taking only 10th into the final sprint -won by Matteo Pelucchi (IAM)-, while Quintana, ninth overall at 5″, will have all the team at his disposal for Friday’s crucial mountain ride.
The traditional HC climb of Lagunas de Neila will end a carousel of ascents -seven in total-, with five of them -Cargadero (Cat-2), Collado (Cat-2, 2x) and Pasil de Rozavientos (Cat-1), as well as the finish- into the final 65 of 170km in the menu. “It was quite a good day for us”, reflected Lobato on the day’s events, the Andalusian back in purple tomorrow at the start of Comunero de Revenga. “The team controlled the situation perfectly well from the start; we were even willing to take advantage of the crosswinds, but there was no wind to profit.”
“Today’s finish was different to yesterday’s – with all teams saving energy and staying relatively calm until the finish, it was nervous and we couldn’t get into the position we wanted. Tomorrow’s stage is the Neila one – it’s a day all our team is waiting for, where we will develop our full strength to see if Nairo can give it a try. I see him doing well, he’s calm and I wish he has the best of luck tomorrow,” said the GC leader in Burgos.
Blues away from big fright in Ardooie
Really chaotic into its final circuit, stage four of the Eneco Tour -183km on Flemish soil, from Koksijde to Ardooie- saw many of the Movistar Team riders -Gutiérrez, Sanz, Dowsett and a late surge from Jasha Sütterlin- playing their cards before a mass sprint won by Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ), with José Joaquín Rojas was 11th. However, the bunch kick was overshadowed by a horrible crash from Zdenek Stybar (OPQ), who left the race by ambulance after crashing against the barriers and the ground with his face. The incident was close to affect Sanz and Dowsett, although both were skilled enough to get through it with no injuries. Friday will bring the hills in Geraardsbergen, a mythical ‘De Ronde’ city, with thirteen ‘bergen’ in 162km and a final circuit including the Denderoordberg, the Kapelmuur, the Bosberg and Onkerzelestraat.