Spanish champion from Movistar Team bounces back after dangerous, 13-woman move -including new race leader Clara Koppenburg (WNT)- to come close to the GC podium. Mavi García suffers after Friday’s crash (21st).
A 13-rider move featuring the likes of Eugénie Duval (FDJ), Chantal Blaak (DLT), Ellen Van Dijk (TFS), Soraya Paladin (ALE) or eventual stage winner Clara Koppenburg (WNT) took a late action to fruition during the Queen stage of the 2019 Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, 109km starting at La Nucia and finishing with the Maigmó (Cat-2) and the brutal Xorret de Catí (HC, 4km at nearly 12% average).
The group, formed after the first climb and ahead by nearly one minute just before the foot of the Xorret in Castalla, forced the Movistar Team to rool up their sleeves and work hard to support their main climber, Spanish road race champion Eider Merino. The Basque ace was actually the second strongest -behind 2nd-placed Ashleigh Moolman (CCC)- from those jumping off the front of the bunch at the foot, with a fine 4th place (1’12” down) just twenty seconds behind the South African. Mavi García, hampered by the blows and bruises suffered in her crash on Friday’s stage two, finished nearly three minutes in arrears, just off the top-20.
The Jorge Sanz-led squad will seek for a final chance to shine with Roxane Fournier and Sheyla Gutiérrez during Sunday’s stage four, Valencia to Sagunto over 104km with the Oronet (Cat-2) as main difficulty.
Cover picture (c): Vélofocus