Vibrant stage, thrilling finish, with many battles in a dynamic of alternatives, many different focuses in the usual journey of the Vuelta a Madrid through the routes of the Sierra Norte. La Puebla, also El Cardoso without being a scoring stage, La Hiruela and Campadales toughened up a short stage in which the stage victory once again went to the breakaway and in which there was once again a change of leader. Andrea Montoli finished fourth on the demanding and cobbled final climb of Buitrago del Lozoya, where Fran Muñoz took a step forward in the general classification to place second, 15″ behind leader Jaume Guardeño.
Without a consolidated breakaway, despite the existence of several attempts, the race faced the non-scoring climb to La Fragüela and the approach to the start of the Puerto de La Puebla. At this pass a breakaway was formed with Raúl López, Calderón (Cortizo), Aznar (Finisher), Erostarbe (Baqué), Mintegi (Laboral), Marais (Vendée U) and Rodas (Caja Rural), but they would be caught by the peloton a couple of kilometres from the top. Before the summit some riders tried to catch a few metres, a stage where Andrea Montoli could be seen.
A crash in the leader’s group that affected riders such as Gabriel Rodas (Caja Rural), unfortunately forced to retire, ended up temporarily breaking up a peloton that, already on the ascent to El Cardoso, witnessed the movement of Álvaro García (Selección Española), Martín Rey (Cortizo) and, later, Kacper Kacper Krawiecz (Telco’m). The Pole would launch an offensive in La Hiruela, would get about 40″ on his former teammates and would manage to hold them until the end while the race had many fronts, Montoli was involved in some accelerations from the group of favourites, and Álvaro García caressed the option of being leader. “I didn’t fall, but the cut-off caught me”, said Muñoz. The next step, this Friday, with start and finish in Parla.
Andrea Montoli: “It was a good day for us, we are happy. We have taken a step forward in the overall, both Fran and I are in the top ten and we will see what happens in the next few days. We will try to continue in a good dynamic. Today’s stage was a little less hot than the previous ones, we gave everything in the group behind us to catch the guys in front, but it wasn’t possible”.
[📷 Vuelta a Madrid]