Challenge Mallorca Race 4

Alejandro Valverde triumphs in race 4 of a very aggressive Challenge Mallorca,  Trofeo Pollença-Andratx whilst Lotto Soudal’s Matt Holmes was in the mix with a late attack at the end 

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Challenge Mallorca Race 4

Alejandro Valverde won the Trofeo Pollença-Andratx on an uphill finish in Port d’Andratx. The experienced Movistar rider whos a vet (41) had the best final attack. Race 1 winner in 2022 at Challenge Mallorca, Brandon McNulty, crossed the line in second and Aleksandr Vlasov was third.

Photo: Sprint Cycling Agency / Movistar Team

After a relatively easy start to day 4 of Challenge Mallorca, the riders had a tough ride ahead with the climbs of the Puig Major via the Coll de Femenías and then the Coll den Bleda, the Coll de sa Pedrissa and the Coll den Claret. With an uphill finish on a 1900 metre climb with sections of up to 15%, this race was tailor-made for the ‘puncheurs’. Just before noon, under sunny conditions, the start was given to the riders.

Eleven escapees rode away after an aggressive initial phase where it rained attacks but due to the fast pace of the peloton, it took a long time before the move of the day came about after 35 kilometres of race.

The leading group of eleven riders managed to get a maximum lead of three minutes before it dropped to two and half minutes and then remained stable. Due to an acceleration on the Puig Major of Lotto Soudal, the team of Tim Wellens, the winner yesterday of the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, the peloton suddenly reduced the gap.
After a stormy descent from the Puig Major, the peloton was complete again just after the intermediate sprint after 87 kilometres, just before the climb of the Coll den Bleda.

Soler attacked on the Bleda. Two years ago, the Spanish climber already tried it here and at the end of the day he was allowed to take the podium as the winner. Now his attack 78 kilometres from the finish was short-lived. It remained restless in the peloton and on the climb of the Pedrissa the escape attempts followed one another in quick succession.

Enric Mas also asserted himself as did Matt Holmes.

The attacks continued to come and go as Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and Movistar tried to control the peloton. On the climb of the Coll de sa Gramola, about thirty kilometers from the finish, Enric Mas attacked and the Spanish climber came out on top by a handful of seconds before being caught.
The peloton had meanwhile thinned out considerably and consisted of only forty riders.

In the last fifteen kilometres, Matthew Holmes tried again and the Briton, who has been racing for Lotto Soudal since moving to race on the continental circuit since 2020, was fighting for every second. However, he was caught at the foot of the final climb to Andratx. Then it was up to the explosive riders to race for the win. In the end, Valverde was lord and master of the steep finish. Brandon McNulty finished second, Aleksandr Vlasov was third.

Alejandro Valverde: “The whole team was excellent today. We tried to keep the race always as much under control as possible, and the team worked perfectly well. We had to tackle this Andratx climb at a strong pace to try and drop those faster legs still into the group. We succeeded at distancing Matthews, the strongest sprinter in the group, but I saw him trying to come back with 250, 300 meters to go, and that’s where I launched my sprint before he bridged back – and I could manage to take it.

“To me, every race will be a tribute already. I’m really thankful to the organisers for the recognition they gave me this morning at the start – I hope I was able to pay them back and thank them enough with this win. It’s the best way to bid farewell to this race, with two podiums, one victory – and now I’m already thinking about Valencia, the next one!

“More than age, for me the key thing is that it’s already 20 years for me at the highest level in the pro peloton. It’s something so difficult to achieve, both physically and especially on the psychological standpoint, I’m really surprised to continue doing well. When I was younger, I stated that I thought I wouldn’t be in the peloton when I reached 34 – now I’m turning 42 in April, and I’m still racing, and winning.

“I want to offer this victory to two really important men. The first one is Egan Bernal. All of my support goes out to him, hoping that his recovery goes well and we can see him doing fine as soon as possible. And then, to Juan Carlos Unzué. His example of strength, optimism, fighting spirit over the last few months has been invaluable, to everyone in this team particularly. A big hug goes to both, hoping that we can see each other soon.”

1. Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team 4:14:50
2. Brandon McNulty UAE Team Emirates
3. Aleksandr Vlasov BORA-hansgrohe @ 03
4. Michael Matthews Team BikeExchange-Jayco @ 06
5. Felix Gall AG2R Citroën Team @ 10
6. Simon Clarke Israel-Premier Tech @ 10
7. Elie Gesbert Team Arkéa-Samsic @ 10
8. Tim Wellens Lotto Soudal @ 13
9. Kobe Goossens Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux @ 19
10. Simon Geschke Cofidis @ 28




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