11 Apr 2019
The fourth stage started quickly with a brief tour of Villafranca de Córdoba. A few kilometers from the Cordoban town, the mountain bike racers started on the roads and trails that would make the selection for mid-pack riders but not for the main group.
Same as in the previous stages, David Valero (MMR Factory Racing) and Tiago Ferreira (DMT Racing Team by Marconi), took it upon themselves to lead the the race with a fierce pace followed closely by racers from BUFF®-Scott MTB. The Cordoban, Miguel Muñoz, riding on home turf and in a good position, wanted to take center stage and therefore didn’t separate from Valero and Ferreira.
By the race’s midpoint, the lead group was still intact in the vicinity of the San Rafael de Navallana reservoir, where its steep roads contrasted sharply with the lushness of the trails of the Sierra Morena, and where much of the stage took place.
The group splt apart in the second half of the stage and a new lead group was formed with Valero, Ferreira, Becking, Fernández, Muñoz and Sánchez. The BUFF®-Scott MTB team continued its campaign for the stage by fighting for the podium.
Meanwhile, at mid-race in the women's category, Fischer, who didn’t want to burn all her matches, held on until halftway when she started to cut into the nearly two minutes that the Norwegian Hovdenak had taken out of her lead in the first 25 kilometers.
With Villafranca on the horizon and a finishing straight-away on the fairground of the Cordovan town, Becking, Ferreira and Valero went for it. In the end, Becking beat his teammate, Ferreira and the current leader, Valero, who will hang on to the lead.
The outcome was exciting in the women’s category. Fischer began to ride comfortably and Hovdenak began to pay for the effort she made during the first part of the stage. In the final stretch, the Norwegian finished first and Fischer, who worked very hard to maintain her lead, appeared just 20 seconds later. The podium was completed by Emmy Thelberg, who battled for third place with Rosenberg from the start.
Stage 5 results
1. Hans Becking 02:05:34
2. Tiago Ferreira 02:05:38
3. David Valero 02:05:38
Hans Becking: “Today was a fast stage — I think it’s nice to have the shorter stages before the big stage tomorrow — but it was beautiful. We finally had good weather so it was super nice. Tactically, again it was a battle between Tiago and Valero. I was hanging on in third and to get the victory like this was super. I’m a bit nervous about tomorrow. It will be the longest stage. I have seen the profile; there will be lots of climbing and the name, ‘The Buff Super Stage’ scares me a little bit but we will see. We’ll try to recover as fast as possible now to be ready for tomorrow.”
Tiago Ferreira: “It was a fast stage in which we attempted to put some time into David but he was super strong again today. The three of us worked together as usual and we were able to put some time between us and the others. David left the stage finish up to Becking and me and I’m happy with the finish.”
David Valero: “It was a very fast stage with technical sections and sections where we rode in a group. A big group formed from the start but it split apart around kilometer 25 and Tiago, Hans Becking and I escaped. I’m satisfied and am looking forward to tomorrow’s Queen Stage.”
Stage 4 Results
1. Hildegunn Hovdenak 02:31:31
2. Natalia Fischer 02:31:54
3. Emmy Thelberg 02:42:01
Hildegunn Hovdenak: “The stage was good, the terrain suits me quite well and I didn’t use too much power. Yesterday was super hard – today was easier even though I pushed in the start and maybe I was a little too relaxed by the end. I won, but not by much. I guess it will be a very hard stage; I hope that my legs are good, as well as my head.”
Natalia Fischer: "We started hard and caught up with the group of Tiago and Valero. I knew that this wasn’t my pace, so I eased up. Hildegunn went with the group and I was sure that this wasn’t the pace for either of us. Little by little I started to make up time. I finished 20 seconds behind her so that was great.”
Emmy Thelberg: “It was very fun — it was tough because of the short, little hills, which hurt a lot but I really liked the downhills so I’m very satisfied with third place.”
1. David Valero 09:06:07
2. Tiago Ferreira 09:10:02
3. Víctor Manuel Fernández 09:18:46
1. Natalia Fischer 11:23:18
2. Hildegunn Hovdenak 11:25:03
3. Lisette Rosenbeck 11:53:36
Tomorrow, the BUFF® Super Stage with finish in Córdoba.
We take on the Queen stage of this ninth edition from Córdoba with start from Al-Nasir Avenue and finish in the Parque de la Asomadilla. It is the longest stage with the highest accumulated elevation gain with a total of 87.2 kilometers and 1,693 meters of climbing.
The stage will pass through iconic sections of the Cordoba mountain range, by way of the Guadalmellato channel and climb La Canchuela, Trasierra up to Las Jaras and Los Villares, where the racers will ride the dreaded and famous route of the abandoned train of Cerro Muriano. The stage will end spectacularly on the trails of Santo Domingo
18 Apr 2019