Tour Down Under (st. 5)
Portuguese youngster spends 130km in the lead during penultimate day of Tour Down Under, despite fall early in the stage causing him several bruises all over his body -eight stitches-. Soler takes 18th atop Willunga Hill.
Nuno Bico played a starring role – for both bad and good reasons – during Saturday’s queen stage of the 2018 Tour Down Under, 151.5km from McLaren Vale to the traditional, dual climb finish of Willunga Hill, where Tasmanian Richie Porte (BMC) won for the fifth time in his career.
The 23-year-old from Portugal join (on km 0) a seven-man break with De Gendt (LTS), Dlamini (DDD), Würtz Schmidt (TKA), Beppu (TFS), Dempster and Bowden (AUS), which soon built a maximum gap close to five minutes. However and suddenly, just 25km into the stage, Nuno crashed and momentarily lost contact with the group. Serious bruises all over his two arms and sides -most prominently a deep cut to his left elbow, which required eight stitches after the stage- required a visit from Nuno to the paramedics, yet did not prevent him to return to the group and complete an excellent job to keep the break alive well into the first climb of Willunga, inside the last 25 kilometers of the stage.
— Nuno Bico (@nbico) January 20, 2018
Four of the Blues -Marc Soler, Rubén Fernández, Nelson Oliveira and Jasha Sütterlin- took Bico’s baton to shine as they completed the first ascent into the GC group. Despite some echelons formed on the flat between the climbs by EFD and BMC, all four got to the foot of the final climb with the main field and two of them, Soler (+19″) and Fernández (+35″), showed visibly recovered from lack of energy during Friday’s Norton Summit ascent to complete the day inside the top 25.
The Movistar Team will complete their week’s racing in Australia on Sunday with a 90km circuit race in Adelaide, where Porte and new GC leader Daryl Impey (MTS) will seek for the bonus seconds as they finished tied overall following Saturday’s mountain-top finish.