Tejay van Garderen accelerated away from the overall contenders to invigorate and ultimately win the Queen Stage of the Volta a Catalunya on the slopes of La Molina today. Van Garderen, BMC's captain who had veered off the road in a disastrous stage 3, began the day 18 minutes behind the leader Pierre Rolland of Europcar, but earned a measure of satisfaction after what he called his scariest day on a bike. His attack took him up to Vasil Kiryienka of Sky, and then past him, from where he soloed home mere seconds ahead of the overall contenders. Van Garderen's win was his second in the past two Voltas -- last year he was fourth on La Molina and topped that with a win the following day.
The GC battle went to Bart De Clercq of Lotto-Soudal, who was never shown on TV but who quietly remained within shouting distance of the big names, finishing 45 seconds behind van Garderen and holding on to 21 seconds of his lead gained in Monday's stage 1 breakaway. Sky's Richie Porte and Tinkoff-Saxo's Alberto Contador appeared to be battling for ultimate supremacy up La Molina, with overnight leader Pierre Rolland off the pace and no sign of De Clercq, who had lost over a minute to Rolland yesterday. Contador took off in a powerful attack after van Garderen and Kiryienka, with only BMC's Darwin Atapuma able to keep up. But Kiryienka eventually waited for his teammate Porte, then helped him close the gap and ultimately drop Contador, which Porte did with his own acceleration inside the final kilometer. Porte came over the line second behind van Garderen, five seconds up on Contador.
Porte was able to get past the Spaniard on the GC, and leapfrogged over Domenico Pozzovivo, Dan Martin and Rigoberto Uran in the process. But his hopes of victory were dashed when De Clercq showed up on time. De Clercq holds what looks like a commanding 21 second lead going into the final stages, provided he suffers no missteps.
- Tejay van Garderen, BMC
- Richie Porte, Sky, at 0.02
- Alberto Contador, Tinkoff, at 0.07
- Bart De Clercq, Lotto-Soudal
- Porte, at 0.21
- Domenico Pozzovivo, AG2R, at 0.26
- Dan Martin, Cannondale, at 0.27
- Contador, at 0.28