Vuelta a España (st. 4) / Poitou-Charentes (st. 1)
Veteran Spaniard down with 4km from Tarragona's finish, gets dropped from main group on Vuelta stage four after good work on Monday. Barbero 10th at Poitou-Charentes's opener; all Blues unscathed
Misfortune struck Dani Moreno on stage four of the 2017 Vuelta a España, a long, descending route of 197km from Escaldes-Engordany, just next where the race finished on Monday in Andorra, to the coast in Tarragona. As the Madrilian -14th and top Movistar Team finisher at the first mountain stage – tried to get into good position in the twisty finish inside the Catalan city, ciudad catalana, some swerving into the bunch caused a crash that took him down with 4km to go, just outside of the 'protection zone' established by the rules in case of any incidents.
The unfortunate incident cost him 1'38" at the finish, taking him out of the top-20 overall. The race standings stayed otherwise the same as in the eve, as Matteo Trentin (QST) won the day's sprint into a 90-rider group including Oliveira (19th today), Rojas, Soler, Carapaz and Betancur from the Movistar Team -Rubén Fernández, suffering from pain on his right foot, had to receive medical attention during the stage-.
The Vuelta a España will start tomorrow a series of mid-mountain stages in the Comunitat Valenciana. To start things off, the first mountain-top finish of the race will take the riders to Alcossebre (Cat-3), after 175km full of climbs -four of them categorized- in the 'sierras' of Castellón.
Marc Soler (courtesy TVE, video in Spanish): "I don't feel any unease after my result yesterday; I'm actually quite calm. It's my very first three-week stagerace, my first Vuelta, and I'm coming here just to know the race. Before the Vuelta, I wasn't really paying much attention to what people said about what I could do here. I just kept track of how things had gone during the season, which things I had to improve and which I had to hold dear, and at this late point of the season, we can just go day-by-day. I felt empty at the Rabassa climb yesterday and I dropped back – but it's just part of the learning process we have to go through in this race. There's still a long way to go, much lessions to take and much work to be done for my team-mates, too.
"What really caught my attention so far in this race is how nervous things are. On Sunday's stage I was surprised by the speeds, the lack of breakaways, the nerves inside the field – mostly on the leaders' side – and the efforts the domestiques take to put them into good position. Finishes like Sunday's or today's are just crazy. We all knew that the run-in into Tarragona was dangerous, and no one wanted to lose time, hence Dani's crash. I couldn't see it, since it happened behind my back, but I could hear it. I hope it's nothing serious and to see him doing strong in the mountains again."
Poitou-Charentes: Blues stay away from trouble on stage one
More lucky were the Movistar Team riders covering the opening day of the French event Tour du Poitou-Charentes, on rolling roads through the 199km from Bressuire to Saintes. Carlos Barbero took 10th place into a selected sprint (just over 60 riders) due to a pile-up inside the last 10 kilometers. All Blues but José Herrada and Héctor Carretero -who did avoid any major troubles- got through the first selection of a race whose decisive ITT (21km) in Neuville-de-Poitou will be tackled on Thursday afternoon.