Stage 4 of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya put the General Classication contenders to test, with the summit finish on Port Ain? seeing Richie Porte cross the line in third place and Tejay van Garderen in fifth.
The 172,2km queen stage ended with a surprise win by Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal) who was the sole survivor of an early breakaway that included Philippe Gilbert.
In the final three kilometers both van Garderen and Porte attacked but Nairo Quintana (Movistar) got the better of them in the last kilometre to finish in second place and move into the overall lead.
Porte and van Garderen praised each other’s performance and the opportunity to race together as teammates for the first time.
“Our team in the final there were great. Tejay and I showed that we can work together so it was a good day. Samuel Sanchez did a fantastic job on the final climb. He took us up to the three kilometre to go mark and then for Tejay to attack like that, he set is up so well. I think Tejay was the most aggressive. He was the first one to fire off the attacks so full credit to him,” Porte said after the stage.
“I feel like we had a great day as a team. Brent Bookwalter really deserves the VIP award for the best teammate and it was great to see Sanchez coming into form on the climb. It was a lot of fun being able to race the big guys with Richie there at the end. It’s too bad we couldn’t get the better of Quintana but we were both right there in the mix. The first race with Richie is a huge success I think,” van Garderen agreed.
Porte now sits in third overall on the General Classification, 17 seconds behind Quintana and van Garderen in fifth place, 27 seconds back. BMC Racing Team leads the team classification by 1’04 over Movistar.
Stage 5, 187,2km from Rialp to Valls, includes two category 2 climbs and will likely see a breakaway go early in the stage.