Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2019

March 25-31, Calella, Catalunya, Road - WorldTour

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Daniel Ostanek

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 4 of the Volta a Catalunya. Today's stage is another mountain stage in the Pyrenees, running 150km from Llanars to La Molina.

 

 

 

  1. 11:42:38 GMT

    The peloton will be starting the neutralised section at the start of the stage soon.

  2. 11:49:22 GMT

    Three first category climbs are on the menu today. We have the Coll de Coubet at 39km, and then the finishing ascent to La Molina will be climbed twice from different sides – first at 125.7km and then to the finish.

     

    The Port de la Creueta is the only hors categorie climb of the day. It's the second climb on the route and comes after 92.6km.

     

  3. 11:55:56 GMT

    Egan Bernal was one of the riders of the day yesterday. The young Colombian blew up the lead group with his attack on the final climb, before a lack of cooperation up front saw Adam Yates, Dan Martin and Miguel Ángel López catch up. Read our story on the young rider classification leader here.

     

     

  4. 12:00:48 GMT

    Bernal, who lies third overall, will be up there again today. We should see the same riders competing for the win and probably the race lead if Thomas De Gendt can be shaken off.

     

    Yates, Bernal, Martin, Quintana and López are separated by just 12 seconds on GC, while De Gendt lies 27 seconds up on second-placed Yates.

     

  5. 12:04:26 GMT

    Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin) and Alan Banaszek (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) didn't finish yesterday's stage and so won't race today. Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) is the other non-starter for stage 4.

     

  6. 148km remaining from 150.3km

    12:04:58 GMT

    Łukasz Owsian (CCC Team) is among the early attackers, along with three other riders.

     

  7. 12:21:40 GMT

    Here's the latest in our transfer mechanics series. A huge number of riders are on the market this season, with big names like Julian Alaphilippe, Nairo Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali, Dan Martin and Mikel Landa all out of contract this season.

     

    Click here to read all the latest from Dan Benson.

     

     

  8. 130km remaining from 150.3km

    12:23:20 GMT

    Back to the race and four men are on the attack, with a small advantage over the peloton. They are Will Clarke (Trek-Segafredo), Sander Armée (Lotto-Soudal), Łukasz Owsian (CCC Team) and Brice Feillu (Arkéa-Samsic).

     

  9. 12:27:59 GMT

    And the break has been caught. The peloton are in the valley before the first climb of the day.

     

  10. 12:32:24 GMT

    The riders are starting the Coll de Coubet now. The climb is 9.2km long at an average of 5.5% and a maximum gradient of 11%.

     

  11. 12:41:01 GMT

    The peloton is still all together on the climb.

     

  12. 12:51:02 GMT

    Still no successful breakaway yet. The riders are on the Coll de Coubet.

     

  13. 110km remaining from 150.3km

    12:53:37 GMT

    The peloton have crested the top of the climb. News on who picked up the points is upcoming.

     

  14. 12:58:19 GMT

    Unsurprisingly it's De Gendt who led the way over the top of the Coubet, picking up another ten mountain points. Simon Yates and Peter Weening were next across the line.

     

  15. 13:05:47 GMT

    The peloton head downhill now, towards the first intermediate sprint of the day at Ripoll.

     

  16. 13:11:52 GMT

    A large group of around 25 men has gone clear on the descent from the Coll de Coubet. They're over three minutes up on the peloton.

     

  17. 13:22:08 GMT

    Here's the makeup of the breakaway:

     

    James Knox (Deceuninck-Quick Step)

    Antonio Nibali, Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Merida)

    Davide Villella (Astana)

    Patrick Bevin (CCC Team)

    Michael Storer, Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb)

    Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale)

    Giulio Ciccone, Niklas Eg (Trek-Segafredo)

    Carlos Verona, Marc Soler (Movistar)

    Hugh Carthy, Joe Dombrowski (EF Education First)

    Gregor Mülhberger, Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe)

    Daniel Navarro (Katusha-Alpecin)

    Tsgabu Grmay, Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott)

    Sebastian Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ)

    Guillame Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert)

    Jesús Herrada (Cofidis)

    Amaël Moinard (Arkéa-Samsic)

    Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi-Murias)

     

     

     

  18. 92km remaining from 150.3km

    13:24:54 GMT

    Matthews led Schachmann and Knox over the intermediate sprint. They break are 3:15 up on the peloton.

     

  19. 13:26:33 GMT

    Knox is the best-placed man in the break, 2:14 down on De Gendt. Ciccone is at 2:28, Schachmann is at 2:28, Martin is at 2:38, Dombrowski is at 2:54 and Soler is at 2:56.

     

    The rest of the break are over three minutes down on GC.

     

  20. 87km remaining from 150.3km

    13:36:21 GMT

    The gap remains at around 3:15 with 87km to race.

     

  21. 13:40:16 GMT

    Gonzalo Serrano (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Simon Špilak (Katusha-Alpecin) have abandoned the race.

     

  22. 13:44:27 GMT

    Rémy Mertz (Lotto-Soudal) has also left the race.

     

  23. 13:48:31 GMT

    The riders are climbing again now, on the second climb of the day, the Port de la Crueuta. That HC climb is 19.9km long at an average of 4.7%. Photo from @VoltaCatalunya.

     

     

  24. 77km remaining from 150.3km

    13:49:01 GMT

    The break is being thinned out on the climb.

     

  25. 13:53:52 GMT

    The climb of the Port de la Crueuta has featured in 2014, 2015 and 2018, all on stages ending at La Molina.

     

    The final climb itself has featured each year since 2014. Joaquim Rodríguez, Tejay Van Garderen, Dan Martin and Alejandro Valverde (twice) have triumphed on La Molina during that time.

     

    Usually the gaps aren't too big up there, with around 20 seconds separating first from tenth. Last year though, over a minute separated the top ten after Movistar dominated the climb. Here's a shot of Valverde beating Bernal last year.

     

     

  26. 14:07:44 GMT

    The lead group has reportedly been slimmed down to just nine riders now. They're still on the climb.

     

  27. 14:10:15 GMT

    The weather is good out on course today, as it has been all week. Sunny and breezy.

     

  28. 65km remaining from 150.3km

    14:13:25 GMT

    Sky are leading the peloton at the moment. They're five minutes behind the break.

     

  29. 14:20:14 GMT

    Not sure who is left up front from the breakaway at the moment. An educated guess would point to the likes of Caruso, Ciccone, Carthy, Dombrowski, Navarro, Verona, Soler, Schachmann, Reichenbach and Martin though.

     

  30. 14:21:23 GMT

    Verona and Mühlberger are up front now. Chris Froome leads the peloton.

     

  31. 60km remaining from 150.3km

    14:22:41 GMT

    The gap back to the peloton is 3:20.

     

  32. 14:28:37 GMT

    Bevin is up there with Mühlberger and Verona. The lead trio pass through the feed zone just after the summit.

     

  33. 14:30:14 GMT

    The order over the summit of the Crueuta

     

    Verona: 26pts

    Mühlberger: 20pts

    Bevin: 16pts

    Ciccone: 14pts

    Reichenbach: 12pts

    Storer: 10pts

    Caruso: 8pts

    Soler: 6pts

    Schachmann: 4pts

    Dombrowski: 2pts

     

  34. 14:32:47 GMT

    UAE Team Emirates are leading the peloton now, with Sky just behind. Dan Martin is a contender to repeat his 2016 stage victory later today.

     

  35. 14:38:48 GMT

    22km to go over at the Women's WorldTour race Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne. Follow live here.

     

  36. 14:50:04 GMT

    Live pictures are coming up soon so the updates will be coming more frequently.

     

  37. 33km remaining from 150.3km

    14:52:28 GMT

    The peloton is 3:30 down on the leaders at the moment.

  38. 14:53:58 GMT

    There's a minute between Verona, Mühlberger, Bevin and the remainder of the breakaway. 

     

  39. 14:56:55 GMT

    The break is on the first of two climbs to La Molina. The peloton are climbing too.

     

  40. 14:58:23 GMT

    They're approaching the summit from the south, before descending into Alp for the intermediate sprint and then climbing to the finish from the north.

     

  41. 14:59:01 GMT

    UAE and Sky are still combined at the front of the peloton.

     

  42. 15:00:19 GMT

    Ciccone, Schachmann, Martin, Soler and Gallopin are 20 seconds down on the lead trio.

     

  43. 15:02:26 GMT

    The front two groups have merged now. Dombrowski and Grmay are up there too.

     

  44. 29km remaining from 150.3km

    15:03:47 GMT

    Bizkarra is also up there. Attacks fly up front as Soler and Mühlberger go.

     

  45. 15:05:50 GMT

    Bizkarra ups the pace in the chase group. They're 30 seconds down on the lead duo.

     

  46. 15:07:48 GMT

    Soler and Mühlberger are, strangely, on the short downhill to the king of the mountains point.

     

  47. 15:08:18 GMT

    Four Sky men, including Bernal, are on the front of the peloton.

     

  48. 25km remaining from 150.3km

    15:09:23 GMT

    Back uphill again for the lead duo.

     

  49. 15:10:44 GMT

    Gallopin and Martin aren't with the chase group. Unclear if they're up the road or have been dropped.

     

  50. 15:11:33 GMT

    Riders seem to be coming and going by the minute. Navarro is up with the chase group now.

     

  51. 24km remaining from 150.3km

    15:12:06 GMT

    The break rides through La Molina for the first time and crosses the summit.

     

  52. 21km remaining from 150.3km

    15:13:50 GMT

    Downhill to Alp and the final intermediate sprint now.

     

  53. 15km remaining from 150.3km

    15:19:03 GMT

    And the leaders are about to start the climb back to La Molina. The chasers are 1:55 back, the peloton a further minute behind.

     

  54. 15:20:51 GMT

    Won't be too long until the chase group is swept up by the peloton.

     

  55. 15:22:35 GMT

    Soler led Mühlberger through the intermediate sprint in Alp. They're climbing again now.

     

  56. 12km remaining from 150.3km

    15:23:17 GMT

    The peloton is just 20 seconds down on the chase group now.

     

  57. 15:24:30 GMT

    Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates lead the peloton as they close in on the chase group.

     

  58. 11km remaining from 150.3km

    15:26:23 GMT

    This ascent of La Molina is 12.1km long at an average of 4.7%. That average is reduced somewhat by the short descent near the top of the climb, however.

     

    De Gendt is dropped from the peloton.

     

  59. 15:27:20 GMT

    The climb is steepest at the bottom, with gradients of 11-12% in places. There are double-digit gradients on the final kick up to the finish too.

     

  60. 15:28:10 GMT

    The peloton has really shrunk on the early slopes.

     

  61. 15:29:08 GMT

    The main GC guys, De Gendt aside, are still there. The group is 2:10 down on the leaders.

     

  62. 15:30:04 GMT

    Sosa and Sivakov are still there for Bernal.

     

  63. 10km remaining from 150.3km

    15:30:49 GMT

    Around 15-20 men in the GC group now.

     

  64. 15:31:40 GMT

    Zakarin, Pinot and Carapaz are out the back of the GC group.

     

  65. 8.5km remaining from 150.3km

    15:32:34 GMT

    Maybe around 10 riders left in the GC group now.

     

  66. 15:32:52 GMT

    López flies away from the peloton.

     

  67. 15:33:50 GMT

    Porte and Mas are struggling to keep contact at the reare of the GC group.

     

  68. 8km remaining from 150.3km

    15:34:30 GMT

    López just ten seconds up on the GC men.

     

  69. 15:35:21 GMT

    Mas has lost contact with the GC group. Kelderman and Porte have been dropped too.

     

  70. 7km remaining from 150.3km

    15:36:23 GMT

    Bernal, Quintana and Yates have caught López. Group of four up front now, a minute behind the leaders.

     

  71. 15:36:58 GMT

    Bernal is driving it on.

     

  72. 15:37:40 GMT

    López attacks again!

     

  73. 6.5km remaining from 150.3km

    15:38:38 GMT

    Remnants of the break are being hoovered up, Guillaume Martin the latest. He latches on to López.

     

  74. 15:39:43 GMT

    30 seconds between the leaders and López. Simon Yates and Kruijswijk leave their group behind to join Bernal and Quintana.

     

  75. 15:40:16 GMT

    So a group of five, including the Yates brothers, chasing down López now.

     

  76. 5km remaining from 150.3km

    15:40:54 GMT

    5km to go for the leaders. López is 20 seconds down. The double Yates group 40 seconds down.

     

  77. 15:41:23 GMT

    Simon Yates goes to work at the front of the chase group.

     

  78. 15:41:54 GMT

    López is virtual leader, 10 seconds up on Adam Yates.

     

  79. 15:42:12 GMT

    López leaves Martin behind now. He's close to the lead duo.

     

  80. 15:43:26 GMT

    López catches Soler and Mühlberger. Martin is in no-man's land between the two groups.

     

  81. 15:43:58 GMT

    20 seconds between the Yates-Bernal group and López. The Dan Martin group is closing in.

  82. 4km remaining from 150.3km

    15:44:34 GMT

    Adam Yates and Bernal attack from the chase group.

     

  83. 15:45:29 GMT

    Bernal and Yates are together now. Quintana and co had no answer to that attack. Short descent now.

     

  84. 2km remaining from 150.3km

    15:46:26 GMT

    López flying down the descent.

     

  85. 15:46:47 GMT

    15 seconds between the first two groups. 40 back to the Dan Martin group. No time check to Quintana.

     

  86. 1km remaining from 150.3km

    15:47:32 GMT

    Final kilometre now for López! Mühlberger struggling to keep up. Great job by Soler so far though.

     

  87. 15:47:48 GMT

    Bernal and Yates are 20 seconds down.

     

  88. 15:48:20 GMT

    Back uphill for López now.

     

    Quintana, Kruijswijk and Martin are closing in on Bernal and Yates.

     

  89. 15:48:36 GMT

    López drops Soler with 600 metres to go!

     

  90. 15:48:49 GMT

    Quintana drops Kruijswijk to bridge up to Yates and Bernal!

     

  91. 15:49:28 GMT

    Kruijswijk makes it up too! Four chasing with Soler and Mühlberger in between. 25 second gap.

     

  92. 15:49:43 GMT

    López takes the win solo!

     

  93. 15:51:25 GMT

    Mühlberger and Soler take second and third, around 17 seconds down. Bernal and Yates are right there with them. Kruijswijk and Quintana come in a few seconds later.

     

    Martin takes eighth, at 33 seconds. Woods leads the rest of the GC men over at around 40 seconds down.

     

  94. 15:52:11 GMT

    Second win of the season for Superman López. He won Colombia 2.1 in February. 

     

  95. 15:52:39 GMT

    The Zakarin and Pinot group come in almost two minutes down.

     

  96. 15:53:28 GMT

    López is the new race leader, while Yates and Bernal will remain in second and third.

     

  97. 15:54:18 GMT

    López will benefit from the 10 bonus seconds too, and the breakaway men taking 6 and 4 away from Bernal and Yates.

     

  98. 15:55:30 GMT

    Stage 4 result

     

    1 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 4:02:07
    2 Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:16
    3 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00
    4 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 0:00
    5 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00
    6 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:19
    7 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00
    8 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert 0:00:32
    9 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First 0:00:41
    10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:42

     

    General classification after stage 4

     

    1 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 17:31:05
    2 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:14
    3 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 0:00:17
    4 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:25
    5 Daniel Martin 0:00:46
    6 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:56
    7 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First 0:01:42
    8 Romain Bardet 0:01:44
    9 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:27
    10 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:36

     

  99. 15:59:01 GMT

    Here's a shot from the moment of López's attack today.

     

     

  100. 16:06:29 GMT

    Here's López speaking after the finish (a rough translation):

     

    "It's good that the team works very hard today. They always worked, covering me and being very aware of me. It was very important and today we had a good feeling. Today I had the legs to attack.

    "The fight will continue, and I think I am in a good condition. The important thing is that tomorrow is a little calmer, and we will recover a little and fight until the last day for sure."

     

  101. 16:08:13 GMT

    Here's today's winner crossing the line at La Molina.

     

     

  102. 16:10:21 GMT

    López delivered Astana's 20th win of the season today.

     

  103. 16:27:27 GMT

    That's it for us today. Join us again tomorrow for live coverage of stage 5, a likely sprint stage from Puigcerda to Sant Cugat del Valles.

     

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