Volta a Catalunya: De Gendt wins solo on summit finish to Port Ainé

Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal) brought back memories of his ride on the Stelvio in the Giro d’Italia in 2012 with another mountain top stage win on stage 4 of the Volta a Catalunya. The Belgian was in the early break and had the better of his companions on the queen stage to finish alone on the Port Ainé.

The Lotto Soudal rider, who enjoyed rather unpredictable form in recent years, finished 1:08 ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Richie Porte (BMC Racing). Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) finished fourth.

In the overall standings, Quintana moved into the race lead after dropping his rivals on the final climb. Overnight race leader Daniel Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) was unable to hang onto the relentless attacks in the closing stages and dropped down to fourth in GC.

The 2015 Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) was unable to respond to Quintana and Contador but he was able to set his own pace on the 18.5km climb to finish in eighth position on the stage.

After four stages, Quintana leads Contador by 8 seconds with Porte in third at 17 seconds.

De Gendt, who started the day almost 20 minutes down in the general classification, only had the stage win on his mind as he battled up the long final ascent. He battled through several difficult moments, and even when a fellow breakaway companion, Pieter Weening (Roompot) opened up a minute’s lead the Belgian remained unflappable. He narrowed the gap to Weening with the help of Imanol Erviti Ollo (Movistar) before dispatching with both riders within the final two kilometres.

Although the break had seven minutes on the peloton at the foot of the climb, pace duties from BMC Racing, Etixx-QuickStep and Tinkoff reduced the gap dramatically. De Gendt, who rode a similar long-range tactic to win atop the Stelvio in 2012, held on to take his first win since claiming a stage in the Volta a Catalunya back in 2013.

How it unfolded

After yesterday’s brittle but effective skirmishes the GC contenders were out in force for the most important stage of the race. Their showdown on the final climb was always going to take centre stage in the race but the back-drop, with several climbs en route, was always going to be set on a canvas first guided by the day's early break.

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Ruben Plaza (Orica GreenEdge), De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Lauren ten Dam (Giant Alpecin), Kristijan Durasek (Lampre – Merida), Weening (Roompot), Boris Dron (Wanty), Alexey Tsatevich (Katusha), and Ben Swift (Team Sky) duly obliged with the group establishing a lead of 10:30 after 80km of racing.

It proved to be both the pinnacle of their collaboration and the advantage, with De Gendt’s old team Etixx leading the chase on behalf of their race leader, Dan Martin.

When the race reached the final 50 kilometres of the stage a new order had been established with Everti and de Gendt leading a fragmented break on the penultimate climb, and the peloton seven minutes in arrears.

The descent towards the long, and narrow snow-capped finale proved critical for the leaders’ chances. They – according the sparse time checks – held their gap at six minutes. Weening had made contact with Everti and de Gendt before the crest of the penultimate climb with 36km to go.

Back in the peloton Team Sky explored their options with an attack from Wout Poels. He linked up with Swift on the way to the start of the final climb, but with the Dutchman less than 40 seconds down on GC coming into the stage his chances of success were always going to be limited. His efforts did, however, shake Etixx and it forced Contador to help with the chase as he looked to wrestle the lead from Martin’s shoulders.

Everti briefly stole a march on his two companions but Weening, who like De Gendt has Giro form from the past, swept by, and churning along on the big ring he put a minute into a re-grouped chase of Everti and De Gendt.

As the climb wound on Martin quickly became isolated, with only a determined Carlos Verona for company.

When Poels was eventually caught with 5km to go his teammate Mikel Nieve took it as his cue to accelerate and brief forays from Robert Gesink and Astana’s young Miguel Lopez soon followed.

The canvas was almost finished but Contador’s brush strokes would soon follow. It was Van Garderen who moved first, the American diesel pushing clear with a measured move as Contador eyed a response from his other rivals.

Martin held the first Contador move but only Richie Porte and Quintana were soon left as the trio caught van Garderen.

Up ahead, the light had dimmed, but De Gendt had enough to sweep past a tiring Weening just as Contador and Quintana detached themselves from the BMC duo.

The race lead was on Contador’s shoulder for the briefest of moments as Quintana surged clear to take second and a valuable chunck of time and the race lead.


Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal4:52:04
2Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team0:01:08
3Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:01:23
4Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff TeamRow 3 - Cell 2
5Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team0:01:36
6Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot - Oranje PelotonRow 5 - Cell 2
7Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha0:01:41
8Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky0:01:45
9Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 8 - Cell 2
10Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 9 - Cell 2
11Hugh Carthy (GBr) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:01:54
12Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team0:02:09
13Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 12 - Cell 2
14Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha0:02:15
15Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:02:21
16Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 15 - Cell 2
17Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky0:02:26
18Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:02:32
19Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 19 - Cell 2
21Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:36
22Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling0:02:45
23Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 22 - Cell 2
24Rein Taaramae (Est) Team KatushaRow 23 - Cell 2
25Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 24 - Cell 2
26Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:03:01
27Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin0:03:03
28Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:03:08
29Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data0:03:12
30Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team0:03:19
31Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling0:03:33
32Antonio Molina (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:03:35
33Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing TeamRow 32 - Cell 2
34Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge0:03:58
35Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:04:00
36Carlos Verona (Spa) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 35 - Cell 2
37Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 36 - Cell 2
38Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 38 - Cell 2
40Andre Cardoso (Por) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 39 - Cell 2
41Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Giant-Alpecin0:04:57
42Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:05:42
43David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:06:19
44Lawrence Warbasse (USA) IAM Cycling0:06:47
45Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing Team0:07:32
46Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 45 - Cell 2
47Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 46 - Cell 2
48Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Dimension Data0:07:37
49Alberto Losada (Spa) Team KatushaRow 48 - Cell 2
50José Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team0:08:33
51Pawel Cieslik (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team0:08:38
52Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 51 - Cell 2
53Sylwester Szmyd (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 52 - Cell 2
54Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:08:55
55Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 54 - Cell 2
56Ruben Plaza (Spa) Orica-GreenEdge0:10:20
57Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky0:10:59
58Víctor De La Parte (Spa) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:11:07
59Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 58 - Cell 2
60Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 59 - Cell 2
61Davide Malacarne (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:11:37
62Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJRow 61 - Cell 2
63Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Lampre - MeridaRow 62 - Cell 2
64Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 63 - Cell 2
65Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek-SegafredoRow 64 - Cell 2
66Yury Trofimov (Rus) Tinkoff TeamRow 65 - Cell 2
67Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:12:31
68Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin0:12:41
69Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:12:47
70Gaetan Bille (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:13:13
71Huub Duijn (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton0:13:27
72Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre - MeridaRow 71 - Cell 2
73Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team0:14:33
74Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team SkyRow 73 - Cell 2
75Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff TeamRow 74 - Cell 2
76Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 75 - Cell 2
77Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 76 - Cell 2
78Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 77 - Cell 2
79Amets Txurruka (Spa) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 78 - Cell 2
80Jérémy Maison (Fra) FDJRow 79 - Cell 2
81Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (Fra) FDJRow 80 - Cell 2
82Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La MondialeRow 81 - Cell 2
83Matvey Mamykin (Rus) Team Katusha0:17:52
84Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo0:18:16
85Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:18:27
86Boris Dron (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:19:47
87Aleksei Tsatevich (Rus) Team Katusha0:21:07
88Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:21:44
89Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 88 - Cell 2
90Sindre Skjoestad Lunke (Nor) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 89 - Cell 2
91Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot - Oranje PelotonRow 90 - Cell 2
92David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 91 - Cell 2
93Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 92 - Cell 2
94Karel Hnik (Cze) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling TeamRow 93 - Cell 2
95Eduard Prades (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 94 - Cell 2
96Benjamin King (USA) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 95 - Cell 2
97Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 96 - Cell 2
98Dayer Quintana (Col) Movistar TeamRow 97 - Cell 2
99Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 98 - Cell 2
100Laurens De Plus (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 99 - Cell 2
101Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 100 - Cell 2
102Felix Grosschartner (Aut) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 101 - Cell 2
103Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:23:44
104Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky0:24:44
105Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 104 - Cell 2
106Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:25:13
107Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 106 - Cell 2
108Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Team KatushaRow 107 - Cell 2
109Adam Stachowiak (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team0:26:49
110Marcin Mrozek (Pol) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 109 - Cell 2
111Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-SegafredoRow 110 - Cell 2
112Stef Clement (Ned) IAM CyclingRow 111 - Cell 2
113Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 112 - Cell 2
114Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 113 - Cell 2
115Martijn Keizer (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 114 - Cell 2
116Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 115 - Cell 2
117Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 116 - Cell 2
118Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre - MeridaRow 117 - Cell 2
119Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre - MeridaRow 118 - Cell 2
120Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 119 - Cell 2
121Oliver Zaugg (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 120 - Cell 2
122Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 121 - Cell 2
123Lorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJRow 122 - Cell 2
124Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 123 - Cell 2
125Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 124 - Cell 2
126Alexey Vermeulen (USA) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 125 - Cell 2
127Ben Swift (GBr) Team SkyRow 126 - Cell 2
128Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 127 - Cell 2
129Jonas Koch (Ger) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling TeamRow 128 - Cell 2
130Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 129 - Cell 2
131Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 130 - Cell 2
132Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Tinkoff TeamRow 131 - Cell 2
133Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension DataRow 132 - Cell 2
134Jesus Hernandez (Spa) Tinkoff TeamRow 133 - Cell 2
135Ilia Koshevoy (Blr) Lampre - MeridaRow 134 - Cell 2
136Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 135 - Cell 2
137Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Sprandi PolkowiceRow 136 - Cell 2
138Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 137 - Cell 2
139Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff Team0:27:32
140Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ0:27:35
141Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky0:27:37
142Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Tinkoff TeamRow 141 - Cell 2
143Davide Cimolai (Ita)