Volta a Catalunya 2016: Nairo Quintana claims race lead

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Volta a Catalunya 2016: Nairo Quintana claims race lead on queen stage

Thomas de Gendt wins on Port Aine as Colombian takes charge

Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) soloed to stage four victory at the Volta a Catalunya on Port Aine, as Nairo Quintana (Movistar) took over the race lead.

De Gendt was the last man standing from a strong breakaway on the race’s Queen Stage to win the stage, while Quintana kicked from the reduced peloton and caught the remnants of that break to take second.

The result was enough for Quintana to take over the race lead from stage three winner Dan Martin, who crossed just behind Chris Froome (Team Sky) 37 seconds later.

Nairo Quintana is the new leader of the Volta a Catalunya (pic: Sirotti)

De Gendt, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Laurens ten Dam (Giant-Alpecin) and Pieter Weening (Roompot-Oranje Peloton) offered their considerable firepower to the day’s break.

Ben Swift (Team Sky) was also there, as was Orica-GreenEDGE’s Ruben Plaza, Boris Dron (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida) and Alexey Tsatevich (Katusha).

With so many strong riders in that group, it was little surprise to see them stretch out at a ten-and-a-half minute lead, while Etixx-QuickStep led the bunch behind.

Erviti, De Gendt, Weening and Tsatevich left their former breakaway companions behind with 40km still to race, however, while Swift was met further down the road by team-mate Wout Poels, who accelerated from the bunch.

Weening went solo on the Port Aine, the 18.5km climb with an average gradient of 6.8 per cent, while Poels kicked again from the chasing group as the climbing started.

De Gendt and Erviti chased, but the Dutchman – for the second stage running – continued to press on solo. At 11 minutes down overall he was no threat to the peloton, however, where a different race was unfolding – namely the one for the blue jersey.

Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) was next to put in a dig, passing Poels in the process, before Miguel Lopez (Astana) attacked just as the Team Sky man rejoined the bunch.

Race leader Martin was isolated in the bunch, but stayed near the front where Team Sky’s Mikel Nieve accelerated next before Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing) took over the pace setting.

Thomas de Gendt soloed to the stage victory on Port Aine (pic: Sirotti)

Weening still led, meanwhile, under the 2km to go kite on the snow-lined roads approaching the summit but De Gendt closed in fast behind.

At the same time, Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing ) got a gap on the bunch and the American’s move – and Alberto Contador’s subsequent chase – split the already reduced peloton, catching Team Sky out.

De Gendt passed Weening with ease at the front, while the attacks in the what was left of the peloton continued – Richie Porte (BMC Racing) kicking next.

As De Gendt passed under the flamme rouge, a quartet of Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador and the BMC Racing duo formed in front of the peloton, but Van Garderen and Porte could not use the advantage.

Instead Quintana and Contador kicked on again, catching Erviti who had nothing left to offer his Movistar team-mate.

Nevertheless, as De Gendt was celebrating his stage victory, Quintana left Contador behind to claim second place and the leader’s jersey.

Porte beat Alberto Contador to the third bonus seconds, but Quintana leads the way with three stages remaining.

Volta a Catalunya 2016: stage four – result

1) Thomas de Gendt (BEL) – Lotto-Soudal – 4.52.04
2) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +1.08
3) Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC Racing +1.23
4) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff – ST
5) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing +1.36
6) Pieter Weening (NED) – Roompot Oranje Peloton – ST
7) Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) – Katusha +1.41
8) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky +1.45
9) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale – ST
10) Dan Martin (IRL) – Etixx-QuickStep

General classification

1) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar – 19.01.43hrs
2) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff +8”
3) Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC Racing +17”
4) Daniel Martin (IRL) – Etixx-QuickStep +24”
5) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing +27”
6) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +32”
7) Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) – Katusha +42”
8) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky +46”
9) Hugh Carthy (GBR) – Caja Rural-Seguros +1.01
10) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Cannondale +1.16

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