Brutal Final Climb Shakes Up General Classification on Queen Stage in Spain.4. February 2017, Lucena del Cid (ESP) — Road Team
The Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana queen stage proved to be as tough as expected with five categorized climbs including a first-category summit finish to Llucena pushing riders to limit.
An early five-rider breakaway was given the freedom to extend an advantage of more than 4 minutes over the first 100km of the day.
However, a high-speed descent of Alto de Puertomingalvo, the third climb of Stage 4 in Spain, saw the peloton begin to cut into the group’s advantage and they were finally caught before the showdown on the steep slopes of Mas de la Costa.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was the first to launch an attack, a move that proved to be successful as he eventually rode solo over the final 3km to take both the stage win and the leader’s jersey.
The battle continued behind him as Ben Hermans and Manuel Senni both dug deep to finish seventh and eleventh respectively and maintain their podium positions on the General Classification, 23 seconds and 42 seconds behind Quintana.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“I wasn’t feeling great at the beginning of the stage but as the day continued I started to feel better and better. Finally in the last 30km I found my form and I was confident that I could stay within 1 minute of Quintana and hopefully keep the leader’s jersey within BMC Racing Team. Unfortunately for me, Quintana just kept going and he possibly set a faster time up that climb than he did at the Vuelta so it’s no surprise he took the overall lead. This is my first race of the season so I am happy with my position on the GC and hopefully I will be on the podium tomorrow. I had a solid block of training over winter and I think this has showed here so I am happy with that.”
“The start was hard today and there was lot of stress in the peloton but I think we did a good job as a team to control the breakaway all day. When we arrived at the final climb, I saw immediately that Quintana had attacked and I was in a group with Ben Hermans so I tried to set a good pace at the front. We tried to give it everything to keep the GC but unfortunately it wasn't enough today. Personally, I don’t think I can be disappointed as I felt like I had good form on that climb and it can only get better as the season continues.”
Greg Van Avermaet:
“The final climb was brutal and coming into today’s stage I knew that it would be almost impossible for me to defend the yellow jersey. I gave it everything I had and it was good to have Michael Schär’s company to help motivate me but in the end it was not the finish for me. I am proud to have worn the yellow jersey for two days and I think I have shown that I am already in good form. This is only my first race of the year so I think I can go in tomorrow’s final stage happy with how this week has played out.”
Sports Director, Valerio Piva:
“This was the hardest stage of the race. We knew that the General Classification was in danger with this finish, but we defended our position all day. We worked hard at the beginning and stayed calm when the breakaway went away and then in the second part of the race, some teams started to come up to the front and help. Ben Hermans and Manuel Senni did a good job here, and I think second and third on the GC is the best result possible after seeing Quintana's attack. For me this is a hard race early in the season so to have two guys in podium positions, with one stage to go, is great."
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
Stage 4: Segorbe > Lucena del Cid, 180km
Top 3: 1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) 2. Merhawi Kudus (Team Dimension Data) 3. Amaro Manuel Antunes (W52-FC Porto-Porto Canal)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 7. Ben Hermans 11. Manuel Senni 31. Greg Van Avermaet
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.