Valverde victorious in Catalunya; D’Hoore dominant at De Panne: Daily News Digest

by Caley Fretz

March 23, 2018

In today’s Daily News Digest: Valverde recaptures Volta a Catalunya lead with stage 4 win; Cape Epic queen stage delivers tight racing; ASO considering barring Chris Froome from the Tour de France; Jolien D’Hoore wins Driedaagse-Brugge De Panne; Adam Yates suffers pelvis fracture; Orbea Orca review; Scott Thwaites undergoes back surgery; Flanders Classics behind new Great War Remembrance Race; It’s time to ban Tramadol in cycling; The horrors of airline travel

Valverde recaptures Volta a Catalunya lead with stage 4 win

by Caley Fretz

Alejandro Valverde continues to underline the extent of his recovery from a bad crash at last year’s Tour de France, notching up his seventh victory of the year when he took stage 4 of the Volta a Catalunya on Thursday. The Movistar veteran outsprinted new Sky signing Egan Bernal after they, and Valverde’s teammate Nairo Quintana, proved best on the final climb to La Molina.

Quintana came in six seconds back, with Pierre Latour (Ag2r La Mondiale) the next best, 23 seconds down. Valverde’s win follows his victory on stage two and catapults him back in the leader’s jersey he conceded to Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) on Wednesday.

“It was a really tough day, more importantly, because of the cold temperatures,” he said, explaining that he suffered because of this on the penultimate climb of La Creueta, and on its descent. “I was so happy to see things unfold in such a great way for us into that last climb. With help from our team directors and with some good organization between the three of us, everything went to perfection. Still, it wasn’t really that hard, the strategy for me was simple: should Soler or Nairo attack, I just had to wait and let others go after their moves. We had a strong advantage. I just had to stay on their [other riders’] wheels and then go for the stage win.”

The 170.8-kilometre stage was the toughest of the race and featured a solo attack by Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) in the second half. He was reinforced by Toms Skujinš (Trek-Segafredo), Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) and Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing Team) but then dropped them, building a gap of over a minute on the Coll de la Creueta.

Valverde joined and, after a regrouping, was strong again on the final climb. The action whittled down to he, Quintana and Bernal, with the eldest of the three proving best.