Sánchez goes close as van Garderen crashes
It was a mixed day for BMC’s general classification contenders on stage 4 of the Vuelta a España with a late attack from Samuel Sánchez and a crash for Tejay van Garderen. Sánchez took a flyer off the front of the bunch with just under two kilometres to go as the road dipped down before the final ascent to the line. The Spaniard took Nicolas Roche (Team Sky) with him and they made it inside the final 500 metres before the charging pack caught them.
“I tried from far out but there were still 300 metres to go. I didn’t know the final, only from references, photos and the road book. Nothing is the same when you are on the bike with 200 kilometres (in the legs), the heat, the hammering we took was really hard,” Sánchez explained to Biciciclismo after the stage.
Sánchez’s American teammate van Garderen wasn’t so lucky as he crashed on a bend with just over 30 kilometres remaining. The incident took out several others including Cannondale-Garmin’s Ben King, who had his power metre stolen as he picked himself off the ground. “My bike slipped away in a roundabout because of the dirty road,” he explained.
He was forced to chase for the next 20 kilometres but managed to finish on the same time as the stage winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
Moreno shines as Rodriguez struggles
Katusha went into the Vuelta’s fourth stage with Joaquim Rodríguez as their man for the victory. The punchy uphill finish should have been perfect for the Catalan rider but instead it was his loyal lieutenant Dani Moreno that was the best performer for the team on the day. Moreno held onto the coattails of Valverde and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) to finish third and take a few bonus seconds for good measure.
“The team did good job all day long. In the finale we did a regular climb because of the pulling work of Peter Sagan's team. We managed to stay together but in the sprint I missed just some power to finish the job. This was a chance to win but the result is correct. I am already happy with my condition in this first week. I hope for more in the stages to come,” said Moreno.
Rodríguez couldn’t match the pace of those at the front and same home in sixth, given the same time as the leaders despite a small gap. He and Moreno sit one second apart in the overall standings, in sixth and seventh respectively.
“It was one of the easier stages of the Vuelta. It was a flat stage but a pretty climb in the end. Unfortunately that climb was not perfect for me. It was not steep enough and that descent in it broke the rhythm. However I am on schedule. I really feel good,” Rodríguez explained.
Listen to the Cyclingnews podcast
The Vuelta a España is less than a week old and it’s already thrown up plenty of drama, not least Vincenzo Nibali’s (Astana) expulsion from the race. In episode four of the Cyclingnews podcast, Daniel Benson and Patrick Fletcher – joined by Procycling’s Ed Pickering – discuss whether or not his disqualification was appropriate. They also take a look at Esteban Chaves’ ride into the Vuelta’s red jersey and the latest moves in the transfer market.
Haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet? You can listen to it below or subscribe to the Cyclingnews podcast on itunes to make sure that you get it first.
Jeannesson to leave FDJ
Arnold Jeannesson will leave the FDJ team at the end of the season and has secured a contract elsewhere for 2016, though it is not yet clear who this is with.
“In terms of my future, it is now certain that I’ll be in a different team to FDJ for the 2016 season. The change will do me good and will get me going again. I will inform you very soon of the name of the team that will welcome me on January 1 next year,” said the Frenchman on his personal website.
Jeannesson has had a troubled season, stemming from a crash at the Grand Prix de la Somme in early May, where he fell hard on his face. That ruled him out of the Giro d’Italia, and his comeback at the Critérium du Dauphiné the following month did not go to plan. Fearful of riding in the bunch, he endured a miserable few days and abandoned the race on stage 6, later announcing his withdrawal from the Tour de France, where he was set to be a key support rider for Thibaut Pinot.
"I am going to have to rediscover my confidence and sense of pleasure on the bike during the second part of the season if I want to continue to do this job," he said when making that decision, casting doubts on his future in the sport.
It seems he has rediscovered the resolve to remain in the professional peloton and it will soon become clear where he will be riding in 2016.