Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 4: De Gendt Makes the Breakaway
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Thomas De Gendt took his chances of a breakaway making it to the finish of the Queen Stage of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya: 166.4km Stage 4 on Thursday.
De Gendt, as well as three other breakaway riders made the original escape group. De Gendt decided to try and go solo in the final kilometers of a stage that included a summit finish on HC Vallter 2000. With 18km to go, he had 30" on his break mates and a minute on the peloton. However, two of the riders, Ruben Plaza (Movistar Team) and Jose Serpa (Lampre-Merida) rejoined him eventually. They maintained a 1'15" gap over the peloton at that point. With less than 10km to go, the gap had dropped to 30 seconds and the peloton, led by teams such as Tinkoff-Saxo, eventually caught the leaders on their way to the summit finale.
A select group emerged in the final kilometers, and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) was able to beat Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) in a two-up sprint for the stage victory. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was 3rd.
Carlos Verona was the top OPQS finisher, in 24th place.
OPQS looks next to 222.2km Stage 5 on Friday. The stage includes a Category 2 climb before the finish, but there is a fast descent into a flat finish.
"Rigoberto Uran did well the entire stage, but then in the final it was really cold," Sport Director Brian Holm said. "He was left without sugar and at 5 kilometers to go he was fatigued and was unable to react to the attacks. Unfortunately, with this situation our GC chances are likely gone. But we have a few good riders here, and of course now that our goals have changed, we can try to do something in single stages. Big kudos to Thomas De Gendt today. He did a good stage and worked hard in the breakaway. Now we can try to go for a stage win in the next days."