Costa Rican held up by puncture, crash into final 25km of Mallorca Challenge's most demanding trophy; good fight after early break alongside Arcas, Carretero, Valverde (9th). Wellens (LTS) storms to win
The season debut for Valverde, Nairo Quintana and Andrey Amador, the 153km Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana at Spain's Challenge de Mallorca, offered a good opening performance by the Costa Rica star, very active together with the rest of his Movistar team-mates in the second half of a race dominated by Belgian Tim Wellens (LTS).
Andrey and 'Bala', joined by Héctor Carretero and Jorge Arcas -who crashed early in the stage, with only minor bruises to report-, jumped off the front into a fifteen-rider escape at the descent of the Coll d'Honor (Cat-2), a breakaway soon brought back. The race, covered by black clouds that anticipated the drizzle falling over the bunch later on, broke into pieces at the Coll de Sa Batalla (Cat-2), where an eight-man pursuit including both Andrey and Antonio Pedrero unsuccessfully pushed to reach Wellens down.
Down to the fight for 2nd place, Amador suffered a double misfortune into the last 20km: he punctured into the downhill of the Puigmajor (Cat-2), changed his bike and bridged back to the pursuit group, then crashed while climbing through the slippery twists of the Coll d'En Bleda (Cat-3). The Costa Rican had to stay content with 5th, with Alejandro Valverde leading the remnants of the main field for 9th place.
Amador – with just minor blows to his elbow, wrist and hip- will be again alongside Valverde for the third trophy in this year's Challenge, an interesting, traditional hilltop finish at the Mirador d'Es Colomer, ending a hilly 159km from Andratx.