The 2 essential mountain phases of the Volta a Catalunya could also be fading within the race’s rear view mirror however the battle for the general confirmed no signal of abating on Friday’s stage 5 with João Almeida (UAE Staff Emirates) ousting Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) from the lead by only one second.
Beforehand tied on time together with his Colombian rival on GC, Almeida edged forward of Quintana within the second intermediate dash of the stage to grab a bonus second for third place, sufficient to propel the Portuguese racer into the lead.
Sprinting on totally different sides of the street, Quintana initially expressed doubts that Almeida had taken third. However after speaking to race officers on the end, Arkéa-Samsic rapidly recognised that Almeida had been higher positioned than their chief.
“As we stated earlier than the stage, it wasn’t not straightforward to be in the identical time as Almeida, and it seems he was sooner right this moment,” Quintana stated afterwards.
“I’ve little or no expertise in sprints, however lastly I am nonetheless second general and on the plus, which means they will should work tomorrow [Saturday] and we will go on the offensive once more.”
“There’s nothing to say, we went to the commissaires however it was clear that Almeida was third,” Arkéa-Samsic sports activities director Yvon Ledanois added. “It was shut, he has the lead by a second, and there are two phases left to go. We’ll struggle on.”
Though 2022 is proving remarkably profitable for Arkéa-Samsic thus far, in its 17 years of existence the French Professional Conti crew had by no means beforehand held a lead in a WorldTour stage race previous to Thursday. However they now have two strong alternatives to try to regain it.
With 3,000 metres of vertical climbing, Saturday’s stage is exceptionally hilly and features a first class ascent, the Coll de les Liebres Mussara. Though the hardest climbing is early within the day, the second-category Col de la Teixeta with 30 kilometres to go may show a detonation level within the race.
Sunday’s sequence of laps by means of the Montjuïc Park with a brief, steep climb on every circuit is much extra acquainted terrain, however its technical, regularly twisting terrain is notoriously laborious for a GC crew to regulate.
“We have got two very laborious days, and we’ll maintain attempting. Something can occur,” Quintana, who already captured the general of the Volta a Catalunya in 2016, insisted on Friday night.
“I am nonetheless focussed on my pre-race goal of attending to Barcelona on the rostrum, and perhaps to win.”