Moinard in the Breakaway, Sánchez Stays Safe After Tricky Finish6. April 2017, Bilbao (ESP) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team were once again on the look out for opportunities at Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco with Amaël Moinard the rider in the breakaway on stage 4 before a tricky finish saw Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) take the stage win.
It was a full-on start to the day’s 174.1km course, with riders sensing the opportunity for a stage win. Consequently it was a battle for a spot in the day’s breakaway but, after 50km of racing, the peloton gave three riders the green light to begin to build an advantage.
After being part of an earlier attack, Moinard was motivated to animate the front and he bridged across to the breakaway as their lead continued to rise before reaching a maximum of 4’45” on the approach to the first of two categorized climbs.
It was a predominantly relaxed chase from the peloton as they rolled through the Basque Country but, with less than 60km to go, the pace began to pick up.
30km later, the quartet crossed the finish line in Bilbao to begin the final finishing circuit, and they were still holding onto an advantage of around 50 seconds. Eventually, just Moinard and Toms Skujiņš (Cannondale - Drapac) remained out at the front of the race, before being caught on the approach to the final climb of Puerto de Vivero, which topped out with only 14km remaining.
Attacks quickly followed, including an explosive effort from Nicolas Roche which saw riders quickly dropped off the back of the bunch before a high-speed descent. And in the end, it was a reduced main bunch, which included Samuel Sánchez and Dylan Teuns, that looked destined to contest the stage victory.
With the riders stretched out across the road, Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) made a decisive late attack which saw him hold onto a narrow lead to take the stage win.
A late crash, on the final corner to the line, disrupted the rhythm of the chasers with Sánchez finishing in the group just 2 seconds back and Teuns in the third group only a handful of seconds later.
Sánchez is now part of a 20-rider group that sits three seconds behind race leader David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) going into the queen stage tomorrow, April 7.
Loïc Vliegen was forced to withdraw from racing during stage 4, as detailed by BMC Racing Team doctor, Dr. Giovanni Ruffini below.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It was really hard to get in the breakaway today. From the profile of the stage, it looked like the only day where a breakaway could potentially make it all the way, and I was motivated to have a go today. But with the wide roads and a bit of wind, four riders wasn’t going to be enough.”
“After three weeks with no racing following Paris - Nice, I'm happy to be back in good shape, and it was nice to be at the front and part of the race. I was a bit disappointed with myself yesterday and I wanted to give it my best today and to increase my morale a little bit before the next races.”
“You never know what could happen on a stage like this, so I wanted to push on and tried to have as big an advantage as possible before the last climb. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be, but you have to take your chances and fight until the end so, that’s what I did, and I am happy with my ride today.”
Sports Director, Yvon Ledanois:
“Once again we wanted the riders to take opportunities and to go with the early moves. The guys did that, but it wasn't until after 45km that four riders, with Amaël Moinard, were able to extend an advantage. Moinard did a great job as part of the group, he put in a lot of effort, but with a small group it is much easier for the peloton to control the race.”
“After that, Nicolas Roche tried on the last climb. It was an explosive move but with the pace behind it was hard to make a huge impact. The most important thing though is that we have seen everyone racing with their instincts, we have been proactive at the front of the race.”
“It was a dangerous final, and we saw that with the crash, so I was happy that Samuel Sánchez and Dylan Teuns didn’t take any risks especially with the important GC battle to come tomorrow.”
Loïc Vliegen - Medical Update
BMC Racing Team doctor, Dr. Giovanni Ruffini:
"In the crash yesterday, Loïc Vliegen suffered a small contusion on his back which was managed. However overnight he was experiencing some pain on his sacrum and coccyx. During the race, the pain continued, and so we made the decision that it was in his best interests to stop racing. Once he is back at home, he will go to the hospital for a precautionary x-ray, and from there we will see if any more action needs to be taken."
Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco
Stage 4: San Sebastián > Bilbao, 174.1km
Top 3: 1. Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) 2. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) 3. Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain Merida)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 12. Samuel Sánchez 35. Dylan Teuns 53. Nicolas Roche