The queen stage of the Volta a Castelló, the one with almost 3,000 metres of elevation gain and the one with the high finish, the one with the demanding orography of the Maestrat and the superb landscapes, gave Raúl López another step ahead in the provisional general classification, which is firmly led by the British rider Louis Sutton. At the Bell finish line, the American Tobias Klein (Aevolo) won, an illustrious surname in the bike industry (although with no known direct relationship with the rider from Arlington), while López, from Zaragoza, held his own with the elite of this edition and is already ninth.
A group of seventeen riders faced the final part of the climb, the most favourable, after an ascent marked by many movements. One of these starts was made by López, an acceleration that allowed him to gain ten seconds shortly before reaching the most favourable section of the climb. The Aragonese rider would be overtaken in that final kilometre, finishing seventh in the stage, 10″ behind the winner, while Sebastiano Minoia and Álex García finished a little further back: 16th and 20th at 1’44” and 1’48”, respectively.
The two were the last stilettos of a very active EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team during the day, with Luca Bagnara present in the early and numerous breakaway that led the development of the race in the orographically most complicated zone never with big time gaps. The race regrouped with 30 kilometres to go, a new dynamic of attacks and counterattacks fuelled the creation of another large group in which Gabriele Bessega was present.
Raúl López: “We are close. Yesterday with second place, today being there too… We are having a good race and this makes you feel a bit angry for the time lost on the first day, which in the end is something that deprives you of being more involved in the race, because cutting time is complicated. In the end we are there with people of a very high level, who have won in Bidasoa or in very high level races. We have to be happy and keep working hard, personally the sensations are very good and on the flat my team-mates are carrying me on a sofa, they do a great job. On the final climb there were starts and in one of them I made my move. I didn’t even look back, I went flat out. In the end, they reacted and caught up with me”.
The Volta a Castellò closes this Sunday with a morning stage that features the ascent to the Desierto de Las Palmas in its last third, where there will surely be offensive movements, A priorir the overturns in the classification do not seem easy, but there is ground. And nine riders in the arc of a minute and a half, four of them separated by less than 30″.
[📷 @cxcling / @VoltaCastello ]