Miguel Ángel López takes control of the Volta in La Molina
March 28 th 2019 - 18:59 [GMT + 1]
Colombian rider Miguel Ángel López (Astana) is the new leader of the 99th edition of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya after claiming a victory in the 4th stage, the second consecutive stage to finish at altitude after the 150.3 kilometres that took the riders from Llanars to La Molina ski resort, with two ascents. In the second climb to La Molina, the spectacular group of climbers present this year on the Catalan stage race gave yet another great battle, making the winner in Calella and still leader until today, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), break under the pressure.
Nevertheless, the “Volta” is far from over. López, also known as Superman, has his rivals for the title at a mere 14 and 17 seconds respectively: the winner in Vallter 2000 Adam Yates and his fellow countryman Egan Bernal (Team Sky), who yet again finished second among the group of favourites. What’s more, Quintana, Martin and Kruisjwijk, three high profile opponents are less than one minute behind.
Marc Soler (Movistar Team), the only Catalan rider taking part in this “Volta”, was one of the main names on peoples’ lips today. The local rider and the Austrian Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), were the strongest in the large breakaway group, and were only caught up by the winner of the stage and new leader in the last two kilometres of the stage, finishing second and third respectively in today’s stage, allowing Soler to enter in 10th position in the overall classification.
The strong breakaway group of 25 riders, in which Soler counted on the support of team mate Carlos Verona (winner of the Cima Peris prize, the first to cross the Coll de La Creueta), and which had great climbers like Tony Gallopin and Damiano Caruso, only formed after the ascent of today’s first climb, Alt de Coubet (1st category), where the leader at that point De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) was the first to cross to secure his leadership as King of the Mountain.
When it was time to face the serious ascents at Coll de la Creueta (one of the special category climbs in this “Volta”, alongside Vallter 2000), the peloton started to put on the pressure thanks to the effort of Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Dan Martin’s UAE Team Emirates team, until catching up with the breakaway group just before the last section through La Molina. It was at this point that López demonstrated his climbing skill, winning both the partial jersey and the leader’s jersey in the second Pyrenees altitude finish of this spectacular “Volta”.