Catalunya: Quintana takes lead from Martin


Thomas De Gendt solos to the stage win but Nairo Quintana is the new race leader in Catalunya whilst Hugh Carthy is 9th overall

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Catalunya: Quintana takes lead from Martin

Thomas De Gendt solos to the stage win but Nairo Quintana is the new race leader in Catalunya whilst Hugh Carthy is 9th overall

The fire shown by Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) in yesterday’s stage, when, of all the big favourites to win the Volta a Catalunya, he was alone in launching repeated attacks on La Molina, burned even brighter today at Port Ainé, propelling him into the race lead overall at the fifth WorldTour race of the season.

Nairo finished the stage 2nd behind Belgium’s De Gendt (LTS), with sufficient advantage over his GC rivals to take over the race lead. Donning the white and green jersey was the perfect way to repay his telefónico team-mates for their exemplary work over the first four days of racing.

Under the direction of the two José Luises, Arrieta and Laguía, the team had a day of relative calm thanks to road captain Imanol Erviti’s presence in the early breakaway. On the 1st Category Alt d’Enviny, Imanol helped break down the original ten-man group into a trio that also contained Weening (ROO) and De Gendt. A solo plummet down the final descent saw Imanol gain a minute, before the two lighter Low Countrymen passed him on the final climb.

Meanwhile, as BMC set the pace, Dayer, Winner and José Herrada piloted Nairo into position, and their leader delivered the definitive blows: the first of them 2km from the finish line, when Contador (TNK) was alone in withstanding his change of pace, and the second inside the final kilometre, to dispatch his unwanted company.

Nairo’s 17″ advantage on the day over Porte (2nd) and Contador (3rd) gave him an 8″ lead in GC, with three days to go before the climax on Montjuïc. Tomorrow, Movistar Team defends Nairo’s lead on the road to Valls, where wind and the Category 2 Alt de Lilla constitute the evident hazards.

Nairo Quintana: “Today I felt better than on La Molina. It has been a great day. The team worked hard all stage, keeping me at the front as they have since Monday. We had Erviti in the break. We were hoping that he would lend a hand later on, but, in the end, he was going backwards and I had to go on the attack. I saw my opportunity and took full advantage of it. I had the condition to launch a big attack and make up the gap that opened in the final kilometre yesterday, and some besides. I have been taking care of myself since returning home from San Luis, and I have worked hard in order to be able to start the European season in good shape. This is my reward.

“Final victory? There is still a lot to do. Contador is very close and, in reality, everyone is still within a handful of seconds. There will be lots of riders with an interest in attacking over the coming days, and you can never trust any of your rivals. Tomorrow’s is a stage when you can never drop your guard and, even more so, the final circuit race around Barcelona, always a nervous day, is one when you have to keep your eyes peeled. We will try to control the race. We have a great team who will not let me down, and who will give it everything until Sunday. Let’s just hope that my rivals don’t discover their best form [laughs].”


Stage win for breakway specialist De Gendt
Thomas De Gendt: “It’s three years since my last victory. This is very emotional. I am really glad that Lotto Soudal gave me a chance last year and that I can give this victory to the team. I am very proud.”

“It was an uphill start, on a third category climb. After about eight kilometres I started to attack and I got in front with a nice group with also Gilbert in it. We cooperated well and also got a lot of space from the peloton. None of us had a high overall ranking so that was an advantage. Still, afterwards the gap suddenly dropped to six minutes.”

“After the first hors catégorie climb, with about sixty kilometres to go, when the others were eating or taking care of their clothes Erviti took a lead of a few metres and set a high pace. I immediately felt like I had to follow him because I didn’t feel great today”.

“I thought that when the others would attack uphill it would be over for me, so I decided to ride away with Erviti. Pieter Weening bridged to us and then started a solo. I didn’t panic and kept my own pace. First I was only thinking about defending the second place, because that’s also a fantastic result in the queen stage of a WorldTour race, but then I saw Weening. Then I went full gas with the victory as result.”


Hugh Carthy, in the young riders jersey and mixing it with Froome and co at the sharp end of the summit finishes.

For British fans, the rides over the last two days by Hugh Carthy to put himself into the top 10 ahead of many household names is no surprise. The Caja Rural-Seguros RGA rider says “I am very grateful to the team. They have helped me during the stage down to water, clothes and everything I’ve needed at all times. I have kept up on the last climb and at the end I’ve been pretty quiet until the last 5 km, when the pace has risen. Since then, I have been in a group with Froome, Martin and Bardet until the last kilometre, where I lost his wheel by little, but the truth is I am very satisfied. Happy for being the best young and the performance itself. I think I can keep the jersey, we are in a good position, but have three tough stages and we must defend it. ”

1. Thomas De Gendt, Lotto Soudal 4:52:04
2. Nairo Quintana, Movistar Team 0:01:08
3. Richie Porte, BMC Racing Team 0:01:23
4. Alberto Contador, Tinkoff Team
5. Tejay Van Garderen, BMC Racing Team 0:01:36
6. Pieter Weening, Roompot – Oranje Peloton
7. Ilnur Zakarin, Team Katusha 0:01:41
8. Christopher Froome, Team Sky 0:01:45
9. Romain Bardet, AG2R La Mondiale
10. Daniel Martin, Etixx – Quick-Step

11. Hugh Carthy, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:01:54
12. Winner Anacona, Movistar Team 0:02:09
13. Rigoberto Uran, Cannondale Pro Cycling
14. Joaquin Rodriguez, Team Katusha 0:02:15
15. Fabio Aru, Astana Pro Team 0:02:21
73. Brent Bookwalter, BMC Racing Team 0:14:33
74. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky
127. Ben Swift, Team Sky

1. Nairo Quintana, Movistar Team 19:01:43
2. Alberto Contador, Tinkoff Team 0:00:08
3. Richie Porte, BMC Racing Team 0:00:17
4. Daniel Martin, Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:24
5. Tejay Van Garderen, BMC Racing Team 0:00:27
6. Romain Bardet, AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:32
7. Ilnur Zakarin, Team Katusha 0:00:42
8. Christopher Froome, Team Sky 0:00:46
9. Hugh Carthy, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:01:01
10. Rigoberto Uran, Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:01:16
11. Joaquin Rodriguez, Team Katusha 0:01:22
12. Fabio Aru, Astana Pro Team 0:01:32




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