Volta a Catalunya 2019 Route stage 4: Llanars (Vall de Camprodon) – La Molina
Thursday 28 March - At 150.3 kilometres, the 4th stage in the Volta a Catalunya travels from Llanars to the high mountains. Four massive climbs lead to a summit finish in La Molina.
The summit finish in La Molina is included since 2014. Alejandro Valverde took the flowers in 2018 and 2017, while Daniel Martin (2016), Tejay van Garderen (2015) and Joaquim Rodríguez (2014) also won stages in the Pyrenees ski resort.
Let’s hope for a similar scenario as in last year’s La Molina stage. Following powerplay by Movistar on the final climb the front group only featured Egan Bernal, Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana. The latter launched an attack in the last kilometres, forcing Bernal to respond. The young Colombian closed the gap but, obviously, this wore him out. Valverde patiently waited in his wheel to distance Bernal in the last metres.
The first 20 kilometres are all downhill before a flat section runs to the foot of the Coll de Coubet,
which is a 9.7 kilometres slope at 5.5% with ramps up to 10%. The route then descends to Ripoll before a false flat section of some 10 kilometres runs to the base of the Port de la Creueta. This sheer endless climb peaks out at almost 2,000 metres, so let’s hope snow and cold will not hinder the race. The high mountains easily turn into a grim and unwelcoming place this early in the season.
The inclination begins gradually and, although it never reaches double digits, the distance of the Creueta is intimidating. The climb amounts to 21 kilometres and the average slope is 4.5%.
On descent the riders move through La Molina for the first time. They turn right to continue downhill to Alp before the first climb to La Molina begins. The uphill is 9 kilometres and the average gradient 6%. Following a passage in La Molina the route once again drops down to Alp before the haul up to La Molina reappears. The riders move through the mountain village and the race concludes with a short drop and a 2 kilometres climb to the finish line.
The first three riders on the line win time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while two intermediate sprints (at kilometre 57 and at kilometre 138) come with 3, 2 and 1 seconds each.
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