Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2017

March 20-26, 2017, Calella, Catalunya, Road - WorldTour

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Stephen Farrand

Hola and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 4 of the Volta a Catalunya. 

 

 The new map for stage 4 of the Volta a Catalunya

  1. 14:33:24 CET

    Hello and welcome to the action. As you may have seen, today's stage has been shortened by 58km due to snow at the original start in the heart of the Pyrenees. 

     

    The riders travelled down the valley by bus and started the 136km stage in the village of Montferrer. They found temperatures of 11C at the start instead of wet snow and 3/4C at the original start, with concerns of the long descent in the cold conditions.

     

     

  2. 14:36:09 CET

    For now the peloton is lined out on the fast road down the valley, with no escapes going clear.

     

    181 riders started today, with Pascal Ackermann (Bora) the only non-starter, despite leading the sprints competition. 

     

  3. 111km remaining from 136km

    14:46:56 CET

     After 25km of fast racing on the descent, the peloton remains together. 

     

    Unfortunately Pieter Weening (Roompot) has been forced to abandon the race after a high-speed crash. 

  4. 14:48:09 CET

    This is the updated stage profile, with the new start (salida real) indicated 58km down the original route.

     

    The new map for stage 4 of the Volta a Catalunya

     

  5. 14:49:18 CET

    As you can see the rolling profile suits a breakaway group but the sprinters and especially Andre Greipel of Lotto Soudal may fancy his chances.

     

  6. 14:54:52 CET

    We are starting to see some serious attacks now. A first group is pulled back but a second 10-rider move has opened a gap.

     

    In there are José Gonçalves (Katusha-Alpecin), Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo), Matteo Bono (UAE Team Emirates), Diego Rubio (Caja Rural) and Juan Felipe Osorio (Manzana Postobon). 

     

  7. 14:55:38 CET

    However the peloton is refusing to let them go away.

     

  8. 15:02:15 CET

    The peloton has eased and seems to have had a change of heart. The gap is up to 1:45.

     

    We'll have the full list of riders in the attack very soon. 

     

  9. 15:06:47 CET

    We've listed the five riders in the break in our situation column. Check it out for their teams and the updated time gap to the peloton.   

     

  10. 15:07:46 CET

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC) is in the main peloton with his teammates helping control the break so they do not gain too much time.  

     

  11. 15:13:09 CET

    This images shows van Garderen in the leader's white and green leader's jersey on the podium after stage 3. 

     

    Tejay van Garderen in the Catalunya leader's jersey after stage 3

     

  12. 85km remaining from 136km

    15:14:14 CET

    The first hour has been covered at a fast 45km/h.

     

  13. 15:17:26 CET

    It will be interesting to see how the break and the peloton handle the first climb of the day: the Alt del Pubill (3rd cat) after the fast descent from the Pyrenees.

     

  14. 15:19:18 CET

    While one peloton is racing in Spain, another is in action at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali in Italy and riders are also in Belgium for tomorrow's very important E3 Harelbeke race on the cobbles.  

     

  15. 15:25:06 CET

    The 2.7km climb has seen the peloton cut the gap to the break to 2:40, with Osorio first over the top.  

     

  16. 15:29:40 CET

    To read about the morning road race stage at the Coppi e Bartali and see a gallery of images, click here.

     

    Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo) took the win in Gatteo.

     

    The sprint was close but Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo - Vital Concept) got it

     

     

     

  17. 15:37:13 CET

    To read about yesterday's Volta a Catalunya stage and see the action via photo gallery, click here. 

     

    The climb to La Molina is hard but fast on a wide road, making a selection in the peloton before Valverde sprinted past Dan Martin to take the stage victory and the important time bonus. 

     

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins stage 3 at Volta a Catalunya

     

  18. 15:40:50 CET

    The peloton is keeping the five-rider attack under control. the gap is down to 2:30.

     

  19. 15:53:58 CET

    The sun is out on the race now as they head towards the hills behind Barcelona. 

     

    The two late climbs will shape the finale of the day and decide if the break stays away. 

     

  20. 15:55:50 CET

    The break is working together smoothly but the gap is coming down as BMC and Lotto Soudal lead the peloton.   

     

  21. 15:59:26 CET

    The peloton is closing in, with the gap down to 1:40. There are two climbs to come but Lotto Soudal seem confident that Greipel can handle them.  

     

  22. 16:01:29 CET

    Our man Alasdair Fotheringham is at the finish and sent us some key info on the finale. It seems to suit Greipel's power. 

     

    "400 metres from the finish there is a sharp right hand turn and then a very gradual rising gradient to the finish, all on a straight, broad and well surfaced roads," Alasdair told us. 

     

  23. 16:07:01 CET

    Van Garderen spoke briefly before the start of the stage. He knows he faces a fight to win the Volta a Catalunya.

     

    "For sure it's a big task ahead of us but it's always nice to wear a jersey in a major stage race," he said.

     

    "Of course they're going to attack us, I don't expect they'll let us take the jersey all the way to Barcelona. But I feel my form is good and I'm ready for the fight."

     

    "There's a big climb to the finish on stage 6 but there are other big climbs and even the last day wont; be easy. We've got to be ready for anything." 

     

  24. 50km remaining from 136km

    16:10:37 CET

    As we reach the 50km to go point, the gap to the break is down to 1:30. Cofidis is also helping the chase now and thinking that Nacer Bouhanni has a chance to fight for victory in the sprint. 

     

  25. 16:14:22 CET

    Thomas De Gendt is doing some big licks on the front for Greipel. 

     

  26. 16:20:56 CET

    The peloton is playing cat and mouse with the break. The road is climbing again as they approach the 40km to go point. 

     

  27. 16:23:12 CET

    The race is 5km from the intermediate sprint point. The pace is high now, with both the break and peloton in a tussle.

     

    The Movistar team is also moving up and so the other GC contenders are active and watching him.

     

  28. 40km remaining from 136km

    16:24:39 CET

    The pace is high because the road is wide and smooth as it rolls in the Catalan hills.

     

  29. 16:30:10 CET

    The break makes it to the intermediate sprint in Calaf on a downhill section of road. 

     

    The break took little time to fight for the bonuses.

     

     

  30. 16:30:38 CET

    Indeed the speed has split the break, forcing Osorio to chase hard.

     

  31. 36km remaining from 136km

    16:32:16 CET

    The tam cars are being pulled out from the behind the break, indicating the gap is below a minute. 

     

    We are soon to see the catch. And perhaps some action on the final climb.

     

  32. 16:35:57 CET

    Crash!!!

     

  33. 16:36:28 CET

    Zakarin is down and in pain. It could be his collarbone. 

     

  34. 16:36:51 CET

    Several Lotto Soudal and Cannondale riders are involved. 

     

     

  35. 16:38:13 CET

    Most of the peloton avoided the crash and are back riding. Zakarin is back on his bike and riding again but it is unclear how much pain he is.  

     

  36. 16:38:45 CET

    He was perhaps winded rather than any other injury. 

     

  37. 16:40:56 CET

    31kms to go.

    @TrekSegafredo Thu, 23rd Mar 2017 15:37:35

  38. 16:42:47 CET

    The crash seemed to have been caused by riders touching after a roundabout split the peloton and then they came back together.

     

    Zakarin has given the thumbs up and so does not seem injured. He was arguably lucky.

     

  39. 25km remaining from 136km

    16:44:07 CET

    The consequence of the crash is that the GC teams are all trying to protect their leaders.

     

    Movistar are on the front and setting a high pace. Quick-Step also doing the same on this approach to the final climb of the day.

     

  40. 16:45:01 CET

    The GC teams are fighting for position before the turn off the main road.

     

    The road could explode very soon.

     

  41. 16:46:45 CET

    Orica-Scott are also protecting Adam Yates.

     

  42. 16:47:23 CET

    Here we go. The left turn lines out the peloton.

     

  43. 20km remaining from 136km

    16:51:29 CET

    The speed means the break has been quickly swept up even if Osorio tries to stay clear.

     

  44. 16:52:49 CET

    The peloton has eased after the dangers of the tight turn. The real climb is about to start at 6.5%. 

     

  45. 16:55:32 CET

    Profile image for Lotto_Soudal

    #VoltaCatalunya The road is already going uphill towards the bottom of the Turó del Puig (2nd cat): 3 km, 5.7% average gradient, peak of 10%

    @Lotto_Soudal Thu, 23rd Mar 2017 15:52:42

  46. 16:56:02 CET

    It will be fascinating to see who survives the climb and fights for stage victory.

     

    Can Greipel make it over the top and sprint? 

     

  47. 14km remaining from 136km

    16:56:44 CET

    Attack. Astana make a move!

     

  48. 16:57:33 CET

    Cataldo leads Fuglsang on a double attack. The Italian forces the move away and the Dane pushes on.

     

  49. 16:58:08 CET

    Cataldo drops back but the peloton is chasing Fuglsang. He leads by just 50 metres.

     

  50. 16:58:33 CET

    Team Sky are up front chasing behind Orica-Scott and Movistar.

     

  51. 16:59:31 CET

    The descent will be fast and furious for the next 10km. 

     

  52. 17:00:01 CET

    Bardet attacks! And Dan Martin follows him.

     

  53. 17:00:33 CET

    Here comes Contador, with Thomas. The race has exploded! 

     

  54. 17:01:29 CET

    Van Garderen is in the front selection but its hard to get away as the climb eases. 

     

  55. 17:02:16 CET

    The peloton is lined out with small gaps between riders.

     

    Have any sprinters made it in the move?    

     

  56. 12km remaining from 136km

    17:03:03 CET

    Marc Soler of Movistar kicks to off now. He's in the best young rider's white jersey. 

     

  57. 17:04:21 CET

    Valverde and Froome are coming across to Soler and a FSJ rider.

     

    The descent is fast and twisting.

     

  58. 17:04:51 CET

    The riders are passing some wind turbines and descending like mad men.

     

  59. 10km remaining from 136km

    17:06:22 CET

    This is a stunning descent to watch but the riders need nerves of steel to avoid touching their brakes. 

     

     

     

  60. 17:06:51 CET

    The quartet of Froome, Soler, Valverde and Gaudu (FDJ) lead by 10 seconds. 

     

     

  61. 17:07:58 CET

    Profile image for TrekSegafredo

    #VoltaCatalunya white-knuckle descent!

    @TrekSegafredo Thu, 23rd Mar 2017 16:05:15

  62. 7km remaining from 136km

    17:08:30 CET

    Froome is logically not working to defend Thomas' overall hopes.

     

     

  63. 17:09:28 CET

    The four are moving fast but the peloton is on their tail, 100m behind.

     

  64. 4km remaining from 136km

    17:10:12 CET

    Gaudu is the 20 year-old neo-pro but is showing his talents today.

     

  65. 17:10:42 CET

    The move looked good for a moment but has been caught.

     

    Now it time to think about a late attack or the sprint finish.  

     

     

  66. 3km remaining from 136km

    17:11:40 CET

    Bouhanni is there, wearing his black helmet. 

     

    FDJ is riding for Cimolai.

     

  67. 2km remaining from 136km

    17:13:04 CET

    As they take the final corners of the descent, there's no sign of Greipel. 

     

  68. 17:13:26 CET

    Vichot is working for Cimolai but FDJ are running out of riders before the big roundabout. 

     

  69. 17:13:35 CET

    Movistar are working to set up Valverde and Rojas.

     

  70. 17:14:17 CET

    500m to go. 

     

  71. 17:14:56 CET

    Cimolai leads it out but Bouhanni was on his wheel and comes past him with a perfectly-timed sprint.  

     

  72. 17:15:49 CET

    That was a good sprint from the Frenchman but an even better rider on the aggressive and hilly finale. 

     

  73. 17:17:19 CET

    Profile image for TeamSky

    Great to see both @GeraintThomas86 & @chrisfroome finish safely in the lead group at #VoltaCatalunya. Bouhanni (COF) wins the stage 4 sprint

    @TeamSky Thu, 23rd Mar 2017 16:14:35

  74. 17:19:30 CET

    Alex Edmondson was fourth for Orica-Scott.

     

    There was a small gap in the peloton and Contador seemed to be behind it. We will see if he loses any time.

     

  75. 17:19:56 CET

    Nacer Bouhanni was happy to have won the sprint.

     

    "I'm super happy with what the Cofidis team has done for me today and by helping me to win this race," he said.

     

    "It was my fault on stage 1, I went too far out. I wasn't happy to lose by 2cm and so I really wanted to win today. I did what I needed to do."   

     

  76. 17:21:45 CET

    The replays show that Bouhanni won it by more than a bike length. 

     

  77. 17:23:08 CET

    There are no changes in the overall standings, with van Garderen still in the leader's jersey.

     

    The American finished safely in the front group. 

     

  78. 17:23:49 CET

    Van Garderen leads teammate Samuel Sanchez by 41 seconds, with Geraint Thomas third at 44 seconds, Alejandro Valverde fourth at 45 and Chris Froome fifth at 49 seconds. 

     

  79. 17:25:24 CET

    This is the full top ten for the stage:

     

    1 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 03:04:27
    2 Davide Cimolai (Ita) FDJ
    3 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-Scott
    4 Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Orica-Scott
    5 Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
    6 Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
    7 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team
    8 Petr Vakoc (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
    9 José Joaquín Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
    10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek - Segafredo

     

  80. 17:26:26 CET

    General Classification after stage 4:

     

    1 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 13:29:00
    2 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 00:00:41
    3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 00:00:44
    4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:45
    5 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 00:00:49
    6 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 00:01:10
    7 Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 00:01:13
    8 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 00:01:18
    9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 00:01:25
    10 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-Segafredo.

     

  81. 17:31:28 CET

    Profile image for TeamCOFIDIS

    #VoltaCatalunya Quel plaisir de voir @BouhanniNacer lever les bras ! https://t.co/L2ORB8m6eU

    @TeamCOFIDIS Thu, 23rd Mar 2017 16:24:42

  82. 17:37:59 CET

    Profile image for BMCProTeam

    Another day in the #VoltaCatalunya leader's jersey secured for @tejay_van after stage 4

  83. 17:45:14 CET

    This was the stage 1 sprint that Bouhanni was referring to. Today he got his revenge after a thrilling finale.

     

    Davide Cimolai (FDJ) beats Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) to win stage 1 at Volta Catalunya

     

  84. 17:46:50 CET

    For a full report, results and photo gallery fro today stage, click here.

     

    We'll also have lots of reaction interviews from the race on Cyclingnews as we analyse the late attacks of the stage and look forward to Friday's all important mountain stage when race leader Tejay van Garderen (BMC) will have to fight to defend his leader's jersey.

     

     

    Tejay van Garderen in the Catalunya leader's jersey after stage 3

     

     

  85. km remaining from 136km

    <p>Thanks for joining us for the live coverage from the shortened stage.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>We'll be back on Friday with more live coverage from the Volta a Catalunya and the E3 Harelbeke race in Belgium.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>We're calling it fantastic Friday.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
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