Konrad takes 3rd place in Murcia.
Another podium finish for BORA - hansgrohe as A. Valverde takes the win.
The young line-up from BORA – hansgrohe showed a strong performance at the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia arriving with 3 riders in the chasing group, when A. Valverde was untouchable. The team crowned their effort with a superb 3rd place from Patrick Konrad.
As expected, an early breakaway of three riders could build a solid lead in the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia. But with a cat 1 climb in the last third of the race, it was also expected that the break wouldn’t be able to stay in front of the race until the finish.
Team Movistar with their leader A. Valverde started early to control the race. BORA – hansgrohe captain for the day was Patrick Konrad, a ride who is a strong climber but at the same time a pretty fast guy when it comes to a sprint finish. Seeing these talents, today’s course for sure favoured a rider like Patrick.
After the breakaway was reeled in already before the climb up the Alto Collado Bermejo, everything was set for the climbers. When A. Valverde decided to go, nobody was able to follow. Within the first chasing group BORA – hansgrohe had two riders well placed with the likes of Emanuel Buchmann and Patrick Konrad.
Valverde (Movistar) increased his lead over the chasers gradually, already with 15k to go it was clear that nobody could challenge his win today. Behind, the chasing group got bigger and bigger when some riders managed to come back on the last 30k. Among them was Silvio Herklotz, which put BORA – hansgrohe in a strong position with three riders able to fight for the podium.
About 30 riders entered the last kilometer then when Valverde already had crossed the line. Buchmann and Herklotz worked on the head of the group together with Katusha to set a high pace. At the end Patrick Konrad took 3rd place behind J. Restrepo (Kathusa) after a superb team effort.
“This was a strong ride from our young guns today. Valverde was unstoppable, but behind him, Patrick and Emu both could climb with the best. Also Silvio show a strong performance. In the final he and Emu had the job to cover any attacks while Patrick focused on the sprint. Our tactics worked out well and with the podium finished we can be really satisfied.” – Christian Pömer, sports director
“When Valverda made his move, the bunch broke into pieces. Among the first chasers was Emu with 8 guys, I was a few seconds further back with another 4. But everything regrouped then a little and also Silvio was able to come back. In the end both did a great job for me. I just missed out 2nd place, but I am really happy with my performance, especially considering that I came directly from a training camp and my legs were a bit tired today. I think some of us did another step forward this winter, you could see that today.” Patrick Konrad