In last two editions Alejandro Valverde took the flowers in La Molina. Daniel Martin (2016), Tejay van Garderen (2015) and Joaquim Rodríguez (2014) also won stages in the Pyrenees ski resort.
The route of the Volta a Catalunya’s 4th stage has yet to be revealed, but let’s hope it will be similar to last year’s La Molina stage as it was an exciting race. Following powerplay by Movistar on the final climb the front group merely featured Egan Bernal with 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.
Last year, the race also set off in Llanar and the first 50 kilometres ran on the flat before some minor hills were included, apparently to stretch the legs. At 5 kilometres and with an average gradient of 6%, Alt de Jou was the first test – yet, in reality it was still the calm before the storm.
Next up was the Coll de la Creueta, a sheer endless uphill with its peak at almost 2,000 metres. The inclination begins gradually and, although it never reaches double digits, the distance of the Coll de la Creueta is doing the damage. The climb amounts to 21 kilometres and the average slope is 4.5%. Kilometre 18 and the last kilometre are the toughest sections – respectively going up at 9% and 8.3%.
On descent the riders moved through La Molina for the first time. They turned right to continue downhill to Alp before the final haul up to La Molina began. The climb is 9 kilometres and the average gradient 6%. Following the last passage in La Molina the route continues with a short drop and a 2 kilometres climb to the line.
Let’s hope snow and cold will not hinder the race if the Coll de la Creueta is included on the 28th of March. The high mountains easily turn into a grim and unwelcoming place this early in the season.
Volta a Catalunya 2019 stage 4: Google maps, social media, and more
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