Ropero is four seconds behind the leader in the premier stage and concludes the season with a new podium in a lap by stages
XVIII Volta Ciclista a Galicia
Stage 4: Viveiro – Monte San Roque (130.1 km)
The season of the Kometa Cycling Team sub23 ended this Sunday in Lugo with a sensational stage of great demand and final high of the Volta a Galicia in which Alejandro Ropero fought to regain the leadership of the race and was four seconds away from achieving it. The rider from Otura bet on the yellow jersey and was one of the four riders who ended up playing the victory in the tremendous ascent to Monte San Roque, with ramps of up to 20% in some stretch. The leader Martí Márquez arrived 24 seconds later, clinging to the 27 seconds of margin with which he started in the previous one. It is the third podium of Ropero in a stage round this year, after his third place in the Bidasoa Iztulia and his second position in the Vuelta a Zamora.
The day had enough ground to deploy strategies. The hardness of Saturday’s day, constant rains from its beginning to its end, reduced to 78 runners the list of participants who faced this final stage. The dynamics of many skirmishes and a high rhythm were repeated again in the first kilometres, with the Lizarte being used in depth to bring down or minimise the differences of some movements in which dangerous people had integrated into the general classification, such as Roberto Mediero and Jacobo Ucha (Club Ciclista Vigués) riding within a breakaway of twelve cyclists who achieved more than two minutes of margin. Always diligent, the Balearic Joan Martí Bennassar was also part of those adventures.
Ropero would pass to the attack in first person in the sinuous routes of the Concello de Valadouro, in the prolegomena of the ascent to As Lobeiras; a movement in which he was marked by Roger Adriá (Lizarte) and that ended up being hunted in the ascent to a port of much more entity than it could seem. On its ramps the leader’s team worked hard to reduce the advantage of the escape, but at the same time ended up depriving Marquez of future support. Just twenty units, three cyclists of the Kometa (Ropero, Alessandro Fancellu, Sergio García) among them, formed the group of the yellow jersey when the leak was neutralized and the race faced its last fifteen kilometers.
In the climb to San Roque, just four kilometers, but very demanding, Ropero stood out in the lead with the Portuguese Patrick Videira (Fortunna/Maia), Rubén Fernández (Aluminios Alca/sima) and Raúl García de Mateos (Aluminios Cortizo). A pulse began with the fight for leadership in the background. Márquez, for three seconds, would manage to retain the first place on the podium. The victory in the stage, on the other hand, had gone to the bag of the Portuguese cyclist. Alessandro Fancellu, who arrived next to the leader, finished eighth and could make a jump in the final general, where he placed fourth. In the end, two riders of the Kometa Cycling Team in the top-five.
“I can’t speak of a perfect ending to the season; the gold would have been to finish with a victory in the general standings. But we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It’s true that it still gives some courage for not having been able to materialize all the work that the team has done during all these days. It was just a few seconds. But well… If I’d like to thank my team-mates all year long for what they’ve done, always tucking me in. Without their support I would not have been able to achieve anything of what I have achieved this season”, the Andalusian rider is sincere.
Rafa Diaz Justo, director of the Kometa Cycling Team: “It’s a day that leaves us with two readings, the sadness of coming with a second place, which was the same as we had in the morning, and the satisfaction of having fought to assault the first place. The team has been at a great level and has run very well, the boys have responded. It wasn’t an easy stage for the leader and we tried to leave him without companions and put him against the ropes. In the end I think we have to be very happy with this new podium and, above all, the fact that the team has been competitive from February to September”.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)