Volta a Catalunya (st. 3)
Nairo stays with top GC contenders -with Carapaz in 8th, 46″ back- as Alejandro Valverde suffers in difficult day, concedes more than two minutes.
Briton Adam Yates (MTS) claimed victory at a star-studded sprint, more than 2,100 meters above sea leve, in Vallter 2000, a ski station holding the finish of the first big mountain stage -day three- of the 2019 Volta a Catalunya. The finale saw Nairo Quintana again leading the Movistar Team’s perfomance, after the Blues worked hard at the front of the bunch to allow his main GC references contesting the stage win.
Erviti, Verona and Amador -the latter two suffering a small crash near the last climb, with just minor bruises to report- pulled in pursuit of an eleven-man break, whose last survivor, Pieter Weening (ROC), was caught halfway through the last ascent by a very much selected group of favourites, containing Quintana and Richard Carapaz – but not Alejandro Valverde. The World Champion wasn’t able to find the best pace to cope with the high-altitude slopes from Setcases, and ended up conceding more than two minutes over the leading, five-man group, where Nairo took 4th place.
Quintana sits now in 5th overall, 35″ behind Thomas de Gendt (LTS), who was able to defend his GC lead by finishing just behind Valverde -who was, in turn, supported by Marc Soler in the closing stages-. Carapaz remains, in turn, 9th in a GC which could be again shook up on Thursday’s second main mountain stage, just 150km yet with four long ascents towards La Molina (Cat-1).
REACTION / Nairo Quintana (vía CyclingProNet):
“I was able to find again some good legs today. I tried to remain with the top climbers, I was able to finish into that leading group, so this results reassures we’re still building a good form and prepararing ourselves well for what’s to come. I hope to keep drawing good conclusions from this Volta. Let’s see how today’s effort takes its toll on everyone at tomorrow’s climbs, and what we can try tomorrow together with my team-mates. Alejandro already warned us during the stage that he would go easier on the climb, that it was up to us to go chase a result because he felt like he wouldn’t be up there in the finale.”
Cover picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport