Volta a Catalunya (st. 4)
Marc only beaten by new GC leader López (AST), break companion Mühlberger (BOH) in last 500m after long effort in break; Nairo takes 6th in the day, sits now in fourth overall with three days left before Montjuïc.
A well-timed acceleration just prior to the descent before the final kick up La Molina, the decisive point of stage four in the Volta a Catalunya -150km with four rated ascents from Llanars-, rewarded Miguel Ángel López (AST) with the day’s win and the race lead as he opened a decisive gap over the biggest names in the field.
The Boyacá native left behind a GC group full of big names, led before his acceleration by Sky’s Egan Bernal together with Nairo Quintana. The Movistar Team’s GC reference at the Spanish race followed a move from Bernal with 5km remaining, the duo later caught by the Yates brothers (MTS), Steven Kruijswijk (TJV) and López, who left them behind – and caught Marc Soler, a solid, courageous member of the 25-rider initial break with team-mate Carlos Verona.
Soler was the last rider to lost contact with López at the 500m slope at the end, crossing the line in 3rd place after Gregor Mühlberger (BOH). Nairo Quintana in turn finished sixth, few meters after Bernal and Adam Yates. Nairo and Marc are now 4th and 10th overall in the Volta, which should see no big changes at Friday’s stage four towards Sant Cugat del Vallès, yet could be shook up once again in the weekend -crosswinds in the Costa Daurada on Saturday, then the Montjuïc showdown on Sunday-.
REACTION / Nairo Quintana:
“It was a very fast-paced climb. There was no respite. We tried to keep up with the final attacks and we were eventually able to finish with the top GC names. López launched a huge acceleration and profited from a moment when we all looked at each other – he really played it well. The GC? It’s hard to know if we can do anything else. The mountain stages are now gone, so let’s see if we can still do something. There could be some crosswinds on Saturday – we’ll see.”
Cover picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport