Vuelta a Espana: Atapuma Takes the Red Jersey23. August 2016, San Adres de Teixido (ESP) — Road Team
Darwin Atapuma put in an incredible ride on stage 4 of the Vuelta a Espana to cross the line in second place and take the leader’s red jersey.
Atapuma, who is leading a Grand Tour for the first time in his career, formed part of a 21-rider breakaway that went clear after more than an hour of racing.
The breakaway gained a five-minute lead and managed to hold their advantage with 30km to go to give the group a solid chance of making it to the line. The attacks from the breakaway started with 20km to go, during which time Atapuma rode at his own rhythm to stay in the main breakaway group.
Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) launched the winning solo move with 9km to go on the last climb, the Mirador de Veixia, and behind Atapuma attacked to distance himself from the breakaway and bring himself closer to the red jersey.
Atapuma had the legs to hold off the General Classification contenders’ group and power to second place, to now lead the General Classification by 29 seconds going into stage 5.
Samuel Sanchez finished with the main group and holds on to sixth place overall, 1’08” behind Atapuma.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It is the best day of my cycling career to now have the red jersey at the Vuelta a Espana. This morning I was thinking to go in the breakaway and it was also the plan from the sports directors. There were a lot of breakaway attempts in the first 50km of racing but the peloton wasn’t letting them get away. I had to look at what the right composition for the breakaway, and I managed to jump in the right one that the peloton allowed to go clear. We had a good advantage in the end with a strong group of 21 riders.”
“I was feeling really confident in the breakaway because my shape after the Tour of Utah is really good. I was also feeling confident because of the uphill finish and when I looked around at the others in the breakaway I could see that they were suffering a lot more than me. I felt good so I knew that I could try something on the last climb. We arrived at the last climb with a three-minute advantage and it was then that I could start dreaming about taking the red jersey, as it was a realistic possibility. In the last 5km I knew the GC group was riding really fast so I didn’t know if I could get the jersey, so then I attacked to try and win the stage. In the end I was second on the stage but I took the red jersey which is a dream.”
“I think I can keep the jersey after tomorrow because it’s not a super hard stage, but to even wear the red jersey for one stage is incredible. I’ll take things day by day and continue to work to support the team’s ambitions.”
Vuelta a Espana
Stage 4: Betanzos > San Adres de Teixido (163.5km)
Top 3: Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie), Darwin Atapuma (BMC Racing Team), Benjamin King (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team).
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 2. Darwin Atapuma, 27. Samuel Sanchez, 41. Ben Hermans
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 1. Darwin Atapuma, 6. Samuel Sanchez, 19. Ben Hermans
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.