Frankiny Climbs into Young Rider Jersey at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana3. February 2018, Cocentaina (ESP) — Road Team
An impressive ride from Kilian Frankiny on the queen stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana saw the young Swiss rider finish ninth on the steep Alto de las Canteras summit finish and move into the lead in the young rider classification.
With the stage set for a General Classification showdown, any attempts to form a breakaway in the first hour were neutralized and eventually after 65km, of the 181km stage, the peloton allowed six riders to go clear and maintain a two-minute advantage for the next 60km.
A reshuffle at the front of the race saw Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) jump ahead and catch the breakaway to form a new four-rider group which forced Movistar Team and Astana Pro Team to take control and initiate the chase.
In the final 20km, three riders jumped ahead of the bunch and eventually caught the breakaway before Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) launched a solo effort from the group 3km before the final climb.
With 5km to go, BMC Racing Team hit the front of the bunch with Jürgen Roelandts, Alessandro De Marchi and Michael Schär leading the chase behind Visconti, who was eventually caught at the base of the climb.
The steep slopes immediately caused riders to drop from the already-reduced peloton and while attacks from the major General Classification contenders saw a six-rider group form at the front, Frankiny, Brent Bookwalter, and Greg Van Avermaet rode at their own pace and stayed within reach.
As the road flattened out halfway up the climb, the front group swelled in numbers and Frankiny and Van Avermaet made contact, and Bookwalter was just behind. From there, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) launched an attack and created a gap but Valverde proved to be too strong and passed Yates with 200 meters to go to take the stage win.
Frankiny crossed the line 24 seconds behind Valverde in ninth place which was enough to move into ninth place overall and inherit the white jersey, in his first race since crashing out of the Vuelta a Espana in 2017.
Bookwalter and Van Avermaet put in strong rides to finish in 16th and 21st place, 44 seconds and 1’14: behind Valverde respectively.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“The team worked the whole day for me, keeping me out of the wind, going for bottles, all of the things that I did last year. I was very thankful that they helped me the whole day and it was nice to see because I’m still young. I was very happy that I could finish well at the end and pay them back for helping me today.”
“I started the final climb a bit too far behind and then I worked my way back to the front guys. I knew the climb from our recon and I knew that there would be a flat part so I wanted to be there in the wheels. In the last part I just suffered and held on. I gave it everything I had. I’m very proud and very happy that I have this white jersey. I hope that I can hold it to the end tomorrow.”
“My next race is the Abu Dhabi Tour. I can go in with a lot of confidence and I think the team has now seen what I am able to do. I still have two weeks to prepare more and maybe I can show even better form.”
Valerio Piva, Sports Director:
“From the beginning, it was clear that the Team Time Trial was our main goal and for the General Classification, we would give the opportunity to Kilian Frankiny and Brent Bookwalter. They showed good form on the second stage to arrive with the first 25 riders and then of course, yesterday didn’t count for the overall. Today in the meeting we said that we would protect Greg Van Avermaet as Greg wanted to try, and help Kilian and Brent for positioning. Kilian was very strong in the final climb. I am happy for him as the white jersey was an objective for him and it is a good sign and good for the morale. Brent and Greg finished well especially as we know that we can’t compete with the pure climbers like Alejandro Valverde and Jakob Fulgsang. This is the first race for the season for these riders and we have seen good signs from all of them.”
Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana
Stage 4 Orihuela > Cocentaina (181km)
Top 3: 1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), 2. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), 3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 9. Kilian Frankiny, 16. Brent Bookwalter, 21. Greg Van Avermaet.