Volta a Catalunya (st. 4)
Alejandro Valverde, Marc Soler go on courageous attack through Turó del Puig downhill, eventuall caught by the field; remain 4th and 5th overall in Catalunya before Lo Port, Friday
The shortened stage four of the Volta a Catalunya -136km from the initially scheduled 194km, due to bad weather on the altitude roads in the beginning of the journey from Llívia to Igualada– showed again that the Movistar Team won't settle for the result they were getting so far. The Arrieta / Laguía-led squad, always at the front of the bunch all the way up to the Cat-2 Turó del Puig ascent, just 13km from the end, waited until the descent to deploy their two strongest weapons in the overall standings: Alejandro Valverde and Marc Soler.
The Catalan climber jumped through the KOM banner alongside David Gaudu (FDJ), anticipating a luxury counter-attack from Valverde alongside Briton Chris Froome (SKY). Despite the two Blues' efforts to increase their gap, once listed as twelve seconds into the last 10km, the small peloton (just over 50 riders) ultimately chased them down and secured the bunch sprint, dominated by Nacer Bouhanni (COF).
José Joaquín Rojas (9th) eventually finished as best Movistar Team rider inside a group that included six of the Blues. The GC stands as in the day prior, with Valverde, 11th today, still in 4th overall -45” behind Van Garderen (BMC); just one second off Thomas (SKY)-, while Soler, wearing the white jersey as best young rider, keeps his 6th at 1’10”. Friday will bring another chance for both to keep progressing as the toughest climb in this Volta is tackled: Lo Port (HC), 8.2km at 9% average to close stage five, 182km from the start at the late Xavi Tondo's hometown Valls.