Alejandro Ropero triumphs in the queen stage of Zamora: “After several second places, we wanted to get rid of that thorn”
XXXVI Vuelta Ciclista a Zamora
Stage 4: Muela de los Caballeros – As Hedradas (134.4 km)
Alejandro Ropero from Granada achieved his second success of the season this Friday, and also the second of the Kometa Cycling Team U23, when he won the ascent to As Hedradas, finish line of the queen stage of the Vuelta a Zamora. The Otura rider launched a powerful acceleration in the final part with which he managed to distance the other five riders with whom he had entered in the last kilometer, among them the leader Iván Moreno (Lizarte). Ropero also jumps to the second position of the provisional general classification, 36 seconds away from Moreno, with the last stage missing.
The fourth stage of the Zamorano round proposed a very demanding route, with a very leg-breaking terrain during the first 70 kilometres and a complicated chain of very serious ascents before facing the finish at As Hedradas. The mountain passes of Pardonelo, A Canda and Montaña, the latter very hard and above all very close to the finish line, emerged as hot spots for the resolution of the day and a new chapter in the fight for the yellow jersey. As in previous days, and also as in the last races, the Kometa Cycling Team had a great group performance.
The Spaniard Joan Martí Bennassar was in charge of taking work away from his team mates by joining the escape of five cyclists who, after some previous attempt in which the Mallorcan was also present, was configured in the first thirty kilometers. The breakaway, which would achieve a 3:30 advantage over the main pack, would be neutralized in A Canda. The formations Palazzago, Lizarte and Froiz were in charge of setting the pace in an increasingly reduced group that still had the most demanding climb of the day ahead.
In La Montaña, four kilometres with an average slope of more than 8% initially left the leader and Cobos (Rias Baixas), but Ropero did not take long to reach his height. With three kilometres to go, within the framework of an approach that was not lacking in hardness due to the presence of several steep slopes, terrain for ambushes, Sergio Román Martín (Caja Rural), Martin Lestido (Froiz) and Miguel Gómez (Cortizo) would end up arriving from behind. The partial victory was within reach of six cyclists, but Ropero tipped the scales on his side with a powerful start in the vicinity of the town, 200 meters from the finish line, the hardest area of this climb in which was the finish line.
“This stage was marked with an “X”. We had to do well. It was our clearest option to win a stage and we also came from making seconds yesterday with Arturo, seconds also in the time trial… we needed to get rid of that thorn. It was a finish that suited my characteristics”, explains Alejandro Ropero happily after the podium ceremony. “This is a victory for the team, they did a sensational job. They have been very attentive throughout the day and have made an enormous effort to make this possible. From the first to the last. I am eternally grateful to them. This goes on. We will continue to fight in the final stage, although it will be difficult because there are not too many places where damage can be done. But we will try”.
With 122.5 kilometers that will depart from the town of Moraleja del Vino, the Vuelta a Zamora concludes this Saturday in the provincial capital. The last stage of the race will be disputed in the morning and its conclusion, in the avenue of the Fair, is foreseen around 13.30 hours. A competitive epilogue that presents three orographic difficulties in its route; the last one of them, the Alto de La Barrosa, with its summit to seven kilometers for the end.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)