58ª Vuelta a Navarra
Stage 4: Tafalla – Our Lady of Muskilda / Ochagavia (150.6 km)
The detail may go unnoticed, but it explains very well what has been the performance of the demanding day programmed by the Vuelta a Navarra for this Saturday beyond concrete results: the Kometa Cycling Team was the third best team of the day in the queen stage of the race, a very demanding journey through the Navarrese Pyrenees in which the heat was another of the protagonists. The partial victory, in solitary, corresponded to the British Simon Carr (AVC-Aix-en-Provence), while the Catalan Gerard Armillas (Colpak), great protagonist of the day, ascended to the provisional leadership of a general in which his countryman of the Kometa Álex Martín is fourteenth, two minutes away.
The development of the queen stage of the Vuelta a Navarra confirmed something that had already been outlined in the first two stages: the strength of the Italian Alessandro Fancellu in this race. The cyclist from Como, with his options eliminated due to mechanical incidents a day earlier, was once again the best rider of the Kometa Cycling Team under23 at the finish line. Fancellu finished sixteenth, just over three minutes from the winner. Martin, who suffered in the last climb in a great new learning day for a newcomer to the category, finished nineteenth, at 3:34. “Today he has returned to be our best man, proving that he was our strongest rider. Without that bad day yesterday, without all his bad fortune, Fancellu would have been among the top ten, and in a good position,” reflects director Rafa Diaz Justo.
The fourth stage of the Vuelta a Navarra once again offered a multitude of offensives in its first measures, movements in which the Italian Alessio Acco was attentive to give presence to Kometa. From a group of ten cyclists who came to ride at the head of the race with more than five minutes of margin, resulting from the merger of a breakaway of six cyclists and four other runners who came from behind around kilometer 52, would end up leaving Armillas. Back, not few alternatives in a platoon where no structure wanted to take the weight of the hunt. Many markings. Not an ounce of force spent if another can get an immediate return.
“The truth is that the team has been very good throughout the day. It’s true that we have been a bit conservative, but thinking about the end we could not do another type of race. About forty kilometres from the finish line there was a very interesting cut where we took Fancellu and Grávalos. The pity is that it didn’t work, there wasn’t a full understanding. In the end they ended up being caught at twenty from the finish line, but by then in the pack they didn’t see that the stage was going away, that the race was being done ahead of them”, explains Día Justo.
Carr would jump out of that break, ultimately winning the stage. “It’s a pity that in that break in the end there was no understanding. Carr, who integrated into the movement that had formed at the beginning of the antepenultimate port and concluded after his descent, left and ended up taking the stage. Personally, he had good legs, but we have to think about tomorrow, where more opportunities will come”, explains Arturo Grávalos from La Rioja, even more so with the passing of the days after the first stages with health problems.
A 100-kilometre stage starting in Pamplona and finishing in Estella will host the fifth and final stage of the Navarre round. A fifth fraction not at all simple, with four scoring mountain passes and two of them, Guirguillano and Lezaun, practically chained. The summit of Lezaun is less than twenty kilometres away from the end, although in this terrain the cyclists will have to face a couple of steep slopes. The Puy will be the last one. “We are fourteenth overall. It is the same to do the eighteenth as the eighth, right now. With our heads, we are going to play our cards. In this last stage will do a lot of zafarrancho, because there are teams that can win, is a short stage, demanding and you have to see how people recover”, concludes Díaz Justo.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)