First summit finish at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya caught BORA – hansgrohe on the back foot.
The fourth stage was dominated by many attacks and a fast pace right from the beginning. But it all changed as the race came into the final climb of the day, where Team Movistar showed a strong teamwork, despite snow next to the road and just a few degrees above zero. In the end, A. Valverde took his second stage win at this year´s Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. Unfortunately, BORA – hansgrohe was caught on the back foot in today´s difficult weather conditions and played no role in the stage finale.
The fourth stage covered 170km and an elevation of more than 4.700m. The stage took the riders from Llanars up to the summit finish La Molina, it was the first mountain finish in this year´s Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. Before the peloton climbed up to the finish line, they had to pass two intermediate sprints and two climbs (Cat.1). The final climb up to La Molina was 11,6km long ascent with an average of 4,3%.
The Team Tactics
The German Team knew today´s finish from last year´s edition, therefore the plan was to be in a good position for the final climb, especially with the two young climbers Gregor Mühlberger and Davide Formolo.
After many kilometres of constant attacking by the peloton a four-rider breakaway went up the road. But after the second climb of the day, E. Chaves launched an attack and was able to distance himself with a gap of more than one minute over the main bunch. The race changed as it came to the final climb of the day. Team Movistar took control over the race and it was all back together. With temperatures of 3 degrees and snow next to the road the race headed into the last climb of the day. BORA – hansgrohe riders Pawel Poljanksi and Davide Formolo were with the other GC contenders in the first group. With 10km remaining a group of four riders, with Valverde and Quintana, attacked and pulled away. The other riders of the Spanish team stayed in the chasing group and prevented every attack. At this moment BORA – hansgrohe was back in the reduced bunch and played no role for today´s top ten result. The first summit finish ended with another stage win for A. Valverde. He took the win ahead of E.A. Bernal (Team Sky).
01 A. Valverde 4:25:54
02 E.A. Bernal + 0:00
03 N. Quintana + 0:06
58 D. Formolo + 9:07
68 P. Poljanski + 11:30
From the Finish Line
“It wasn’t our best day today. Our plan was to support our two GC contenders as best as possible. All guys worked good today, Cece and Pawel did a good job and stayed with Davide until the last climb. But both of our GC riders hadn’t the best day, therefore we finished outside of the top twenty. Of course we wanted to achieve more but we will analyse what happened today and tomorrow will be another day and another chance. ” – Christian Pömer, sports director