CCC Team was very active after the flag dropped with various riders trying to animate the race. Łukasz Owsian was one of the early attackers but, the four-man move which he was a part of was neutralized after 25 kilometers of racing.The next attempt, however, was the one that stuck and this time it was Bevin who pulled away and joined a 25-man leading group.
This main breakaway was formed on the descent of the category one climb, Coll de Coubet, and the attackers managed to gain 3’30” on the Mitchelton-SCOTT-led bunch.
Bevin’s group extended its advantage to over five minutes on the hors catégorie ascent to Port de la Crueuta, where the New Zealander, who is not known as a pure climber, showcased some great climbing skills. He crested the top in third place and joined Gregor Mülhberger (BORA-hansgrohe) and Carlos Verona (Movistar Team), who had attacked earlier from the breakaway. They opened a gap of 1’20” over the first chasing group and 4’10” over the bunch, before taking on the climb of La Molina, which was tackled twice in the finale.
The gaps started to fall on the penultimate ascent and after a great effort by Bevin, he was eventually caught by the chasing group with 29 kilometers to go, and by the peloton with 11 kilometers to go. At that point the field was already shattered and the main bunch included less than 40 riders. Laurens ten Dam and Riccardo Zoidl were still up there and they were able to hold on until Team Sky set a very high tempo up the final climb.
In the end, the stage was won by Miguel Ángel López (Astana Pro Team), who crossed the finish line in La Molina 2’54” before CCC Team’s top finisher, Zoidl.
Quotes from the Finish Line:
“It wasn’t really the plan for me to be in the break but with a move of 20 riders going away we needed to be part of it and I was in a position to put myself there.
20 is a lot of riders. There was a number of top climbers in the move and many teams with two representatives, so going away with both Mühlberger and Verona was what I could see as my best chance of staying away. Ultimately, team tactics dictated that we came back to a group of ten on the second to last climb of La Molina and when it split again I was on the wrong side of that.
It was a nice stage to be in the break even if it was a seriously tough one.”
Volta a Catalunya
Stage 4: Llanars (Vall de Camprodon)>La Molina (Alp) (150,3km)
Top 3: 1. Miguel Ángel López (Astana Pro Team) 2. Gregor Mülhberger (Bora-hansgrohe) 3. Marc Soler (Movistar Team)
CCC Team top 3: 28. Riccardo Zoidl 44. Laurens Ten Dam 48. Patrick Bevin