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by Mark Zalewski
March 24, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Bouhanni survives climb to win Catalunya stage; Pichon wins Coppi e Bartali opener; CCC Sprandi Polkowice takes TTT; Kristof Allegaert leads the Indian Pacific Wheel Race through the halfway point; Victorian cyclists miss out on minimum passing distance law; ASO strikes deal for race in China; Weening abandons Catalunya; Sporza secures rights for Flanders Classics through 2024; British Lord blames cycle lane for aiding Westminster attack; Lotto-Soudal boss hopes Dwars door Vlaanderen was a lesson; Girdlestone continues to defy odds, entering Le Race this weekend with top bib; World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry meets at Taipei Show; Van Garderen called out on social media for ‘rule infraction’; 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour – Focus on ORICA-Scott; South America Bites : A New World Record.
Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) won the sprint finish on a weather-shortened stage four of the Volta a Catalunya, impressing with his climbing ability as much as his sprint. Davide Cimolai (FDJ) and Daryl Impey (ORICA-Scott) rounded out the podium.
“Obviously I’m super happy, the team did a great job,” said Bouhanni. “It was my fault on stage one, I launched the sprint too early, it was frustrating. So I had the will to win today and I did exactly what was required to win.”
Snowfall shortened the stage, with organisers moving the start to kilometre 60, resulting in a 134 kilometre day that still included the ascent of the Turo del Puig, thirteen kilometres from the finish.
Juan Felipe Osorio (Manzan Postobon) was the last of the breakaway to be caught, just as the road pitched up at 18km to go. The peloton then reshuffled with teams moving their players into position, including Sky, Movistar, Astana and ORICA-Scott. Near the top of the final climb it was Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) launching an attack that set off alarm bells, as Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) responded along with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo). Not far behind was race leader Tejay van Garderen (BMC) keeping them within sight.
As the descent began a dangerous group moved off the front, led by best young rider Marc Soler, who had his team leader Valverde on his wheel, along with David Gaudu (FDJ) and Chris Froome (Sky). Soler played his role, taking long turns on the front. However, doing it all alone was not enough to stave off the chasing peloton once the road flattened and the sprinters reconnected. Into town multiple roundabouts and other road furniture forced the peloton single file and Bouhanni rode it to perfection, choosing the right wheels to follow and easily taking the sprint.