Yates lights up the Valenciana Queen Stage with animated attacks and second on the daySat 3 Feb 2018
Former Clasica de San Sebastian winner Adam Yates brought stage four of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana to life with a series of stinging attacks on a challenging climb to the finish as Mitchelton-SCOTT attempted to shake things up with one more day to race.
With seven categorized climbs over 184kilometres and first category ascent to the finish stage four was easily the hardest of the race and it was closing five kilometres that witnessed the bulk of the action.
Race leader Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) eneded up taking the stage win after 25-year-old Yates and teammate Roman Kreuziger took the race to the wily Spaniard on the steepest parts of the final climb.
The attacks of Yates showed promising form for the first race if the season and the Briton moved up into fourth overall after sealing second on the day.
Despite a flurry of early attacks it took a while for the days breakaway to go clear of an attentive peloton wuth six riders gaining around three minutes on the bunch after 80kilometres of racing.
The climbs inevitably started to take their toll and the GC hopefuls began to move with Michal Kwiatkowski (Team-Sky) the first to jump with 60kilometres still to race.
Kwiatkowski had teammate Vasil Kiryenka up the road in the break and the two Sky riders joined forces with 30kilometres to go, making up a front group of four riders one-minute ahead of the peloton.
The quartet split between the last two climbs with Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) attacking from behind and passing the group before being joined by Kwiatkowski.
First Category Final Climb – Summit Finish:
The duo led onto the low slopes of category one ascent to the finish before being caught by the bunch in the process of being whittled down by fresh attacks, until a selection of around 12riders were left to duke it out for the stage win.
Yates and Kreuziger were key players in the action with repeated attacks from Yates finally paying dividends as the gradient steepened and Valverde out of the saddle in pursuit.
The veteran Spaniard passed Yates with less than 100metres remaining and held on for the stage win and maintained his race lead with one more day of rtacing to come.
Adam Yates – Second Place:
“I wouldn’t say that it was necessarily planned to go on the attack today, but my legs felt fairly good on stage two considering it is so early in the season – so I was keen to have a hit out and test myself. The team were great as always and looked after me all day so I could give it my all up the final climb.”
“It is always difficult to know exactly where you’re at after the winter, but I am pleased with my early form and I’m enjoying being back racing. While we didn’t get the win today, there are plenty more opportunities and many more races to come.
“With tomorrow’s final stage most likely going to end in a sprint finish we will be trying to put Luka Mezgec in a good position and hopefully he can pull off another good result. After that it will be back to working hard in training and looking ahead to my next objectives and seeing what we can achieve.”
Sport director Laurenzo Lapage:
“The guys did fantastically well today, the whole team. To have both Adam and Roman up there attacking on the final climb and on the steepest sections is great. Especially this early in the season, it shows that not only the form is good, but that there is a strong desire to compete and do well.”
“We wanted to have a go on the climb and the stage panned out nicely for us to do that with first the breakaway going out and then the race coming back together for the final push. Overall we are happy, we showed great teamwork today and with one more opportunity to come for Luka tomorrow we can go into the stage in a positive manner.”
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana stage four results:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 04:48:35
2. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:04
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) +0:05
General classification after stage four:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 13:16:23
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) +0:14
3. Jakob Fugslang (Astana) +0:26
4. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:37
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.