Hard challenge for BAHRAIN MERIDA in Catalunya
Stage 5 – Vals – Lo Port – 182 km
LoPort, 24th March – Today’s climbing stage on the 5th day of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya proved to be a hard challenge even for experienced riders. Two of our young riders did take part in the breakaway, but lost strength in the last kilometers.
Stage 5 of Volta Ciclista A Catalunya 2017 started from Vals on another cloudy and chilly day with arround 10°C. Coll De Fatxes (Cat. 2) climb with a very narrow road and Lo Port (Torosa), which is Hors category, were the two key points of today’s stage.
Soon after the first climb, Coll De Faxtes, a breakaway group was formed with our riders Tsgabu Grmay and Antonio Nibali in it, like planned in the team strategy made by team directors Vladimir Miholjevič and Harald Morscher.
BAHRAIN MERIDA riders were stable in the peloton until the group became compact at 160th km, 22 km to the finish and before the final, steep sections of climb Lo Port. Ondrej Cink and Tsgabu Grmay were working hard to keep the front position, but it was too demanding for both to have an equal battle with riders like Valverde, D. Martin, Contador, Yates and other top riders.
“The stage was really difficult. Not so much because of configuration but because the riders of all teams were very aggressive, so after one hour of racing we had average speed of more than 50 km/h,” Vladimir Miholjević commented today’s stage. “We had two riders in the breakaway – Grmay and Antonio Nibali – just like it was planned. The breakaway was very promising but the last climb was very difficult. Ondrej Cink did his best; we are satisfied with his performance, because he is a young rider with not so much experience and such important races are a step forward for him – to ride with such strong, experienced, top class riders. It is difficult to expect that Ondrej can beat them in his first year of cycling career; but he will learn a lot and in the next races he will get better and better.”
Ondrej Cink confirmed: “It was a very hard stage. I had good position before the climb, but the guys in the front were too fast today. It was an important experience, but I still have to learn a lot.”
Photo : MIWA Iijima