Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) wins Volta a Catalunya 2018 stage 4 and culminates with a terrific win his solo flight along the last 20 kilometers of racing. The Belgian was part of the breakaway that went clear in the first stages of racing but, with over 20 kilometers remaining, he said goodbye to his mates in the lead and attacked. Lotto-Soudal rouleur resisted in the lead until the finish line and achieved a fabulous win, proving once again he is a tough one. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) finished in second whereas Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) in third. At the end of today’s stage, Sant Cugat del Vallès – Camprodon (153 km), Thomas De Gendt also got the overall lead of the 2018 Volta a Catalunya.
Because of the extreme weather conditions on the top of Vallter 2000 climb, the Volta’s organization decided to move the finish line tothe town of Camprodon, almost 1000 meters above the sea level situated in the valley below Vallter. The real start of the race was posticipated because Michael Woods (EF-Drapac) crashed at the end of the neutralised section: the real start, in facts, was given after 3 kilometers from kilometer 0. Several attacks were attempted within the first ten kilometers from the start but at that moment three riders went clear: Clement Chevrier (Ag2r La Mondiale), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Luis Mas Bonet (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), who were soon chased by Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi-Murias) and Pablo Torres (Burgos-BH). The peloton appeared to have decided to let the break go only after 30 kilometers of racing.
Since the start the weather was not a bad one: the sky was sunny, the temperature was about 10°C (50°F) but the wind, which wasn’t strong, we have to admit it was very cold. With over 80 kilomters remaining the gap touched its peak up to 2’50”: in the meantime De Gendt got three bonus seconds by winning the first intermediate sprint. De gendt’s intention were clear to everybody when, once got close to the Coll de Bracons KOM, attacked and moved solo in the lead of the race. The Belgian crossed the KOM sprint line in first and soon after Bizkarra and Mas Bonet were the only ones who could chase the wheels of the unrestrained Lotto-Soudal rider.
Once the race went back to the valley floor the leaders’ advantage held on at 1’30” and approached together the bottom of the Port de Collabos, today’s course last climb. As soon as the road sign that marked the beginning of the ascent was passed De Gendt attacked and suddently opened a gap over Bizkarra and Mas Bonet, who were chased on the climb by the peloton. De Gendt, despite being in the lead on his own, extended the lead on the peloton and, until Mitchelton-Scott joined Movistar in the front of the group, he was 2’25” ahead of the main bunch. In the last hundreds meters of the uphill several riders attacked but in the end only Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Matthias Frank (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Adam Yates succeeded in gaining ground on the front of the pack.
The chasers opened a 25″ gap with over 7 kilometers remaining but De Gendt sitted in the lead with the same advantage they were holding on the main pack. The Belgian began to perform a real serious time trial and in the last dozen of kilometers he kept the same gap on both the chasing group and the peloton. Quintana tried to attack when the chase was close to hit the Flame Rouge mostly because Team Sky had been joined in the lead of the bunch by Bahrain-Merida and the latter group was close to reel in the four-riders one, an eventuality that actually happened in the end. De Gendt crossed the finsh line on his own and in this way succeeded in achieving one of the heroical accomplishments he accostumed the insiders and all the fans to expect from him.
Volta a Catalunya Stage 4 Results
1 DE GENDT Thomas Lotto Soudal 4:14:48
2 YATES Simon Mitchelton-Scott + 0:20
3 PINOT Thibaut Groupama-FDJ ,,
4 FRANK Mathias AG2R La Mondiale ,,
5 QUINTANA Nairo Movistar Team ,,
6 VISCONTI Giovanni Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team ,,
7 SCHACHMANN Maximilian Quick-Step Floors ,,
8 BERNAL Egan Arley Team Sky ,,
9 MOHORIC Matej Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team ,,
10 JUNGELS Bob Quick-Step Floors ,,
Volta a Catalunya 2018 General Classification
1 DE GENDT Thomas Lotto Soudal 12:34:54
2 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team 0:23
3 IMPEY Daryl Mitchelton-Scott 0:29
4 YATES Simon Mitchelton-Scott ,,
5 PINOT Thibaut Groupama – FDJ 0:31
6 MCCARTHY Jay BORA – hansgrohe 0:33
7 QUINTANA Nairo Movistar Team 0:35
8 MOHORIC Matej Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team ,,
9 JUNGELS Bob Quick-Step Floors ,,
10 PRADES Eduard Euskadi – Murias ,,