Blue youngsters shine before Willunga's finish, with Sütterlin into a long break before Héctor Carretero's wise attempt between climbs - caught with just 6km to go. Rubén Fernández 13th at finish; Prades, Mas a minute and a half behind ochre in final GC.
The Movistar Team closed its participation in the 2019 Tour Down Under 2019 with its most visible outing in the seven-day Australian event. The Telefónica-backed squad was at the front for most of the final stage -151km starting at McLaren Vale and ending with two climbs of the iconic Willunga Hill (3km at 7%)-, while also fighting to stay close to the main climbers in the race. Daryl Impey (MTS) notched up back-to-back overall honours in the race after Richie Porte (TFS) took his sixth consecutive victory over the top of the climb.
Jasha Sütterlin led the way until halfway through the first of the ascents into a seven-man early break, which held a maximum gap of nearly four minutes over the peloton. Behind them, and while Jaime Castrillo protected his team-mates from the very beginning, stayed well composed the rest of the Blues: Valls, Mas, Rubén Fernández and Edu Prades, who struggled to keep the pace at the back of the group through the first climb yet recovered and progressed to do well in the second.
In an intelligent move, Héctor Carretero took advantage from the decreasing pace between the climbs to try a counter move alongside Tomasz Marczynski (LTS) and Daniel Oss (BOH), a move brought back by the bunch with 6km left despite the Spaniard’s continuous efforts to spice up things at the front. Focused on keeping Rubén Fernández well covered before the foot of the ascent, the Blues had the Murcia native sustaining the pace of a second echelon of favourites to finish in 13th, 20″ behind Porte.
Prades -19th today- and Mas were the top finishes in the GC, a minute and a half in arrears of Impey, after a race with days of brilliance -with breakaways from Castrillo and Sütterlin himself before the Queen stage- and also moments of bad luck, mostly on Thursday with crashes for Jaime and Fernández, which ruled Rubén out from any GC contention despite his good legs. The expedition directed by José Luis Arrieta will head back to Spain on Tuesday.