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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, March 26, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

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Volta a Catalunya stage four reports

We posted the report from stage winner leader Esteban Chaves' Team BikeExchange team with the results.

Here's the report from GC leader Adam Yates' INEOS Grenadiers team:

Richie Porte rode strongly to finish alongside Yates and Thomas, with the Welshman riding to third on the stage. That made it impressive back-to-back days in the mountains for the Grenadiers and with Joao Almeida (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) slipping back on the final climb, Thomas was able to move up to third overall, with Porte retaining second.

Esteban Chaves had soloed away to take the stage honours while the Grenadiers controlled proceedings behind. Luke Rowe and Jonathan Castroviejo did a fine job of controlling the day's break, before Rohan Dennis and then Richie Carapaz did their typically impressive pulls on the day's final climb up to Port Aine.

Esteban Chaves

Estaben Chaves enjoys his stage win.

Carapaz dropped his chain with 11km to race but was able to sort the problem himself and then battle back to the front, and the Ecuadorian continued to ride strongly until 3km to go.

Geraint Thomas:
"It was a good day. We rode slightly old school really. We controlled it, protected the jersey, but with myself and Richie up there as well it was nice to have the numbers so we wanted to save as many guys as possible for the final climb. Rohan rode really well, Billy - AKA Carapaz, because there’s only one Richie! - rode really well, all the way until 3.5km to go. That was impressive. We had a really strong tempo all the way up.

"Chaves went and he’s obviously not a major threat on GC so we made sure he didn’t get too much of an advantage and it came down to a little sprint at the end. Personally it was nice to take third and a little time bonus as well, and we have all three top positions on GC now. Richie rode the last couple of kilometres on the front because he was cramping a little bit but obviously he was still really strong considering he had cramp! It’s been a great few days."

Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this report:

From the first kilometre of stage 4 of the Volta a Catalunya – the race’s Queen Stage – the climbing started. The 166.5km parcours featured three climbs, two of which were rated ‘Especial’, including the final ascent to the summit finish in Port Ainé. It would be a brave rider who would try to break away on today’s stage, and so it was no surprise when the BORA-hansgrohe riders were trying to get themselves in the mix, with Ben Zwiehoff and Ide Schelling amongst the riders trying to make a move stick.

The peloton started to stretch out on the first category climb that started the day, before Lennard Kämna joined an attack as part of a group of twelve riders. Knowing the German rider was a threat in the GC standings, the peloton tried hard to bring this move back in, but the group was too strong and set about putting some time between themselves and the chasers. The gap went out to three minutes, before Lennard attacked with 60km remaining, a bold move and one that surprised the break and the peloton alike, building a lead of 1:30 on the break and 3:30 over the bunch.

The remnants of the break were caught near the foot of the final climb, and it was now just Lennard on the front for the start of the 18.7km climb, with its maximum gradients of 12%. Both Ben Zwiehoff and Wilco Kelderman were in the chasing bunch and while Lennard’s brave efforts had kept him ahead most of the day, he was finally swept up with 14km remaining.

From here, the race took on a more sedate tempo until the attacks started in the final 10km and the terrain went above the snow line and with Chaves on his own on the front, a select group formed behind, where Wilco was one of the fifteen GC contenders chasing the solo rider. While the catch wasn’t made, the Dutch rider crossed the line in 8th and maintained his 5th place in the GC for another day.

From the Finish Line:
"It was actually a good day for the team, with Lennard in front. Unfortunately, Ineos pulled very hard in the peloton and didn't really give him enough of a gap. In the finale, I felt good, better than yesterday, so I was able to be in the front group. I'm happy with my legs and the feeling, so I'll keep on moving." – Wilco Kerlderman

"I was feeling well today and I thought I would take my chances. I was able to join the big breakaway group that formed after multiple attacks. With such big groups, at times, there isn't much cooperation so I decided to attack on my own. My move didn't have the result I wanted but sometimes you have to give it a try and take risks if you want a big reward." - Lennard Kämna

"Our strategy today was to ride aggressively and try a bold move with Lennard Kämna while at the same time try to keep or improve Wilco Kelderman's position in the GC. We knew that Ineos would also put in a strong effort to control the race in order to defend their position. We wanted to have a rider in the day's breakaway and Ide Schelling was our first option but, unfortunately, he punctured and missed the move. Lennard, however, made it to that big breakaway group and when we saw that Ineos were allowing them an advantage of up to 3:30 minutes, we thought that by saving his energy he could have a chance. He went on a solo attack in the penultimate climb, a brave move, but too early, maybe the combination of his eagerness and youth. He managed to stay ahead of the select GC group up to the closing 15km but he was spent. Wilco stayed all the time with the small GC group that had thinned out to a handful of riders in the last ascent, all the way to the finish. He holds on to his 5th overall, so we are happy with that." – Christian Pömer, Sports Director

Coppi-Bartali Week stage three reports

We posted the report from stage three winner Ethan Hayter's INEOS Grenadiers team with the race results.

Here's the report from Shane Archbold's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Stage 3 of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali should have been one for the GC guys, but with the organisers being forced to alter the route due to the bad weather conditions and take out the first-category Monte Carpegna climb, the day was not just shorter (139 kilometers) but also easier to handle, bringing into contention also the fast riders who could survive the hills.

Shane Archbold was one of these, last year’s Kiwi champion being guided to the front of the charging peloton by Mikkel Honoré as they approached the Riccione seafront, where the group overhauled the last survivors of the day-long breakaway. Archbold opened his sprint with 150 meters to go and claimed a solid second – behind Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) – which made him the 11th different Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to get a top 3 finish this year.

Ethan Hayter

Ethan Hayter takes stage three. Sirotti photo

“The day was very hard and I kind of surprised myself to arrive at the finish with the main group. Thanks to Mikkel, who was of great help in the closing kilometers, I could position myself well. Going under the flamme rouge I had a great feeling, but just wasn’t fast enough when it mattered. A podium is still a good result, especially so early in the season, and it gives me a quite a lot of confidence”, Shane said after Wednesday’s stage.

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