After winning the toughest stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Wednesday and moving into second place overall, Adam Yates‘ hopes of moving into the lead on Thursday’s stage 4 were dashed by Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana).
The Mitchelton-Scott rider was able to respond far quicker on La Molina’s uneven slopes when Egan Bernal (Team Sky) once again launched a driving attack almost at an identical distance to Tuesday at Vallter 2000. And it briefly looked as if Yates was on track to inherit the leader’s jersey from Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), dropped, as the Belgian had predicted, at the foot of the final climb.
However, when Lopez went clear for good, the Mitchelton-Scott leader could not follow. Simon Yates then bridged across, giving his brother strong support in the final kilometres before Adam punched away again, this time with Bernal on his wheel. However, by then Lopez was too far away to catch and Yates had to settle for fifth on the line.
Adam Yates did not talk to reporters at the finish, heading straight to the team bus almost immediately after he finished. But Mitchelton-Scott management on the race later praised the Briton for handling a tough situation as best he could.
“It was hard to control it all but Adam did a great job, riding calmly and collectively,” sports director Julian Dean told Cyclingnews afterwards, “and he was able to bring that gap [on Lopez] back.”
“It got to nine or ten seconds and then suddenly it went out to 24 seconds and I’m not sure what happened there. But obviously it was a great ride by Lopez.”
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