ORICA-SCOTT come through the Valenciana Queen stage looking ahead to Sundays finaleSat 4 Feb 2017
ORICA-SCOTT made it through the challenging fourth stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana without incident today, leaving the Australian outfit in good shape for tomorrow’s finale in Valencia.
The Queen stage included nearly 4,000 metres of elevation over five categorised climbs and was won by Nairo Quintana (Movistar) with a late solo attack on the hellish Mas de la Costa.
Chris Juul Jesnen crossed the line in 22nd place after making the jump into the first chasing group behind the day’s earlier breakaway with the 27-year-old Dane showing his climbing legs to good effect.
Sport director Neil Stephens was happy the team came through the demanding stage in good shape.
“It has been a great workout for the team this week,” said Stephens. “The racing along with the terrain has been very tough and it’s good to be able to get some solid riding into our legs.”
“We wanted to try and take it a little bit easier today in anticipation of the final stage tomorrow and we were fortunate that the situation allowed us to do that.
“It should be relatively straightforward tomorrow, but there are no guarantees. The flat roads around Valencia are very agricultural and prone to windy conditions, but we will be hoping for a bunch sprint in the finale and we’ll be working towards that.”
How it happened:
Stage four of the Volta a la Comunitat had all the characteristics of a true mountain stage - five categorised climbs including a brutal summit finish on the infamous Mas de la Costa with an average gradient over 12% and ramps of 22%.
More good weather and blue skies welcomed the riders to the start as an early breakaway of five riders slipped away, developing a four-minute advantage after 40kilometres of racing.
The leaders initially worked well together, maintaining their lead over the first three climbs until the halfway point when the peloton upped the pace, bringing the quintet to within three minutes.
The increased speed saw splits start to form in the peloton as the race flew down the snow-banked slopes of the Puertomingalvo as the leaders attempted to stretch their advantage once again.
Over the fast rolling roads that led towards the final climb the reduced peloton, led by Team-Sky started to reel in the breakaway with 30kilometres to go and only 50seconds the gap.
With only ten kilometres remaining the group had become a trio and were maintaining their 50second advantage over the chasing pack that included Juul Jensen for ORICA-SCOTT.
At the foot of the Mas de la Costa the gap was down to 20seconds as Quintana attacked from the chasing group and unleashed what proved to be the winning move. The Colombian crossed the line alone with Juul Jensen the first finisher for ORICA-SCOTT in 22nd place.
Tomorrow’s final stage covers 130kilometres from Paterna to Valencia and includes one, third category climb before culminating in a flat finish for the sprinters in downtown Valencia.
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana stage 4 results:
1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 05:02:19
2. Merhawi Kudus (Dimension-Data) 00:00:40
3. Amaro Manuel Antunes (W52-FC Porto-Porto Canal) 00:00:43
22. Chris Juul Jensen (ORICA-SCOTT) 00:03:19
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com