Volta a Catalunya 2017 – Stage 4 Preview

By David Hunter

LLivia – Igualada 195km

After a big day in the mountains, the fourth stage will allow the GC men a quieter day in the saddle.

A downhill start makes it very easy to control the break, this is bad news for those hoping for a big escape. BMC will be able to control the move by just using one or two riders. The crucial point of the race is Turo del Puig, which is 5.3km at 5.4%. Cresting with just 12.8km remaining means that teams will want to go fast up the climb, dropping the sprinters.

Finale

It’s downhill all the way off the hill until the final 2km, this is a fast finish. As you can see, we have lots off roundabouts to deal with in the final kilometre, hardly ideal for the peloton. We could see some splits in the main group.

Late Attack

The finish is brilliant for late attackers. The climb is tough enough for attackers to get a gap on the peloton, but it’s the descent that is great news for the bold riders. A fast descent makes it hard for the bunch to bring back a large gap. It’s a good day to be brave!

Weather

Looks like another dry day, but there is some wind coming from the west. We will have to see if any team wants to try and take advantage.

Contenders

Daryl Impey – Orica will be keen on trying to keep the race together for a sprint. They will also want to set a fast pace on the climb, hoping to drop Greipel, Cimolai and Bouhanni. With those three dropped, it opens the door for others to take the win. Impey will be confident in his sprint compared to the other puncheurs, and he has a good record in this race. As we know though, Orica are not a team that like controlling a race all day. They might just try and send a rider in the break.

Enrico Gasparotto – the Italian is slowly starting to build some form. He managed to make the top 10 in the opening stage and he’ll like what he sees here. He has the ability to attack on the climb or wait for the sprint. He might not be as fast as Impey, but a good position could make up for that.

Kristian Sbaragli – of the sprinters, I think he has the best chance of survival. The Dimension Data rider is very consistent, but does lack wins. His team have started the season well and he can count on a good lead out by Nathan Haas. If the Italian doesn’t make it, Haas will take over sprinting duties.

Petr Vakoc – has power to spare! If he attacks near the top of the climb, the other teams will be very worried. Not only can he climb well, but the Czech rider can descend fast too. As he is aiming for the Ardennes, his form should be ready to peak.

Alejandro Valverde – after his win today, the great man will be sensing another opportunity to pick up some bonus seconds. Movistar always like winning on home soil and I think we’ll see them take to the front of the bunch soon after the start. On the climb, they need to put the hurt on, if Valverde is to take a sprint win. He is very quick, but there are quite a few others who are faster.

Arthur Vichot – the French champion will take over in Cimolai gets dropped. He is fast, but will struggle to beat some of the other riders. His best chance will be to attack on the climb.

Prediction Time

The climb makes it very hard for any team to control the closing kilometres, so I’m favouring a late attacker. Given the percentage of the climb, I think we’ll see a huge attack from Petr Vakoc, he should be able to hold off the bunch on the descent to the line.

*Overall preview

David Hunter

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1 thought on “Volta a Catalunya 2017 – Stage 4 Preview

  1. Always notice your passion between the lines of your previews.
    Never lose it!

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