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Best of Roadside PEZ: Valencia’20 Stage 4 – Road to Nowhere

Roadside in Valencia

Best of Roadside PEZ 2020: There was little or no chance of seeing a top race in 2020, but before ‘lockdown’ our man is Spain, Alastair Hamilton caught the mountainous stage 4 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. He didn’t make the ultra-steep summit finish, but there was still a lot to take in ‘Roadside’.

See the Valencia’20 stage 2 ‘Photo Gallery’ HERE. The stage race report is in EUROTRASH HERE.

Calpe – The cycling centre of the World from December to March

You probably thought I had forgotten all about Valencia stage 4, but it was more a case of recovery from a tough day in the car saddle. The plan was to see the start, then shoot up to the highest point of the stage, the Puerto de Tudons (1,048 metres). Then shoot back in time to get up the last climb for the ‘Grand Finalé,

The beach is quiet at this time of day/year

All was going to plan until two Gazprom-RusVelo riders were dropped on the early climbs, but wanted to finish. They were nearly half an hour down by the Tudons and traffic was held up, including me.

The start was ready, where are the riders?

Even a fast dash, occasionally within the speed limit, on the (now free) autopista wasn’t enough to save the day as the road was closed for the circuit before the final climb…. No chance of making the new and very steep climb of the Sierra Bernia.

The shop had some nice kit, all original

There was nothing to be done except take a different way home and catch the last riders crossing the line on TV. On reflection, I could have stayed at home and seen the race pass four times, but where is the fun in that?

The team bus area is always popular with the fans

It was still a good day, I hope you like the photos. Obviously the last two are by Cor Vos.

The CCC Giant bike were ready for two of them to go in the break

Probably not a day for Jumbo-Visma

The GB National champion’s bike

Interview for Alexander Kristoff before the start

Paris-Roubaix winner Dirk Demol

Always good to meet up with Laura Meseguer, she was doing the interviews for Eurosport

And there was the GB champ himself – Ben Swift

Double pro GB champion in his day, now Bahrain-McLaren DS – Top chap, Tim Harris

PEZ friend – Canadian Hugo Houle

The Bardiani colours are growing on me

Many fans are pleased to see the return of the Euskadi orange

Astana’s LL Sanchez

Looking cool – Ivan Basso

Dan Martin, 4th again today

The sign-on

The ‘Tractor’ Tim Declercq made it into the break

Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet was also a break-man

Has Alessandro De Marchi recovered from Thursday’s big break?

Wout Poels is in form, 2nd today

Great to see Philippe Gilbert – Which Classic will he win this year?

“So, you’re a photographer now?” He remembers my interview questions, this must be the first year I’ve not interviewed the ex-World champion since… 2011?

This year’s Spanish champs jersey is looking good

Contreras ready for the start

Race director Angel Casero and Spanish champion Alejandro Valverde share a joke on the start line

Trentin coming the wrong way to the start

Ready to go

What is the age difference between these two? Valverde could be Pogačar’s dad

James Knox just missed the start

And they are off!

Lunch time on the mountain

The break was going well

But there was a long way to go yet

Van Avermaet has his early season climbing legs

The bunch was not at full speed

And filled the road

Valverde didn’t have a great day in the end

The guys at the back were feeling the pressure

Sprinter Kristoff was still hanging on

Climb three or four of the day? Still two or three to go

Don’t worry, the two RusVelo guys are way behind

After a mad drive I caught the break as it started the final lap before the climb

Their day was nearly over

The speed in the bunch was warming up

Valverde had his men around him

Trentin and Poels were not far away

Dan Martin ready for the last climb

The chase still on, but where are the RusVelo guys?

The win I never saw

It was steep enough without a wheelie – Ivan Garcia Cortina showing off

Maybe not the day I planned, but not to be missed. Roll on the 2021 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Stage 4 Result:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 4:22:03
2. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:06
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Ineos
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start Up Nation
5. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:23
7. Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 0:32
8. Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:42
9. Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana at 0:45
10. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Fundacion Euskadi-Orbea at 0:49.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 16:38:28
2. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:06
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Ineos
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start Up Nation at 0:13
5. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:23
6. Wouter Poels (Ned) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:25
7. Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 0:32
8. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Fundacion-Orbea at 0:49
9. Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana at 1:11
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:14.

Valencia’20 stage 4:

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