30 Sep 2017
The German team Lexware claimed the podium in today’s stage. Galicia was once again the fastest woman in a stage where cold and rain made an appearance.
Today’s stage featured more distance and more elevation gain but saw the same winners as yesterday in the general classification. The GAES Catalunya Bike Race Queen Stage presented by Shimano, which navigated the vicinity of Bellver de Cerdanya throughout 62.45 kilometers with a 2,644 m. elevation gain in the region of Sierra del Cadí-Moixeró, finished with Guerra and Galicia dominating the race’s general classification.
After a short prologue stage with lots of single-track, today’s longest race stage was celebrated with the most accumulated elevation gain. The stage began on the final stretch of the prologue stage, first with some rolling terrain until reaching the center of Riu de Cerdanya. From this point, the stage launched into the Natural Park of the Sierra del Cadí, a natural 'parquet' where cycling and vehicles are normally prohibited, but this time were allowed to enter. The route traveled through about 7-8 km. of double-track, followed by a zone that led to the mythical, iconic Gonecs refuge, about a 10-kilometer descent from Bellver de Cerdanya.
The cold and rain showed up in this stage, which caused some of the race surface to be slippery.
Guerra sustains his streak
In the Men's Elite category, the stage was dominated from start to finish by the Lexware team, since three of their racers — all of them German — scored all three podium steps. Georg Egger was the fastest with a time of 2:49:54, followed by Maximilian Brandl and Luca Schwarzbauer (2:50:00), who finished together to celebrate the team’s hard-earned victory.
"Yesterday I was very strong too, but I flatted at the stage end, so I lost time to the leader. On the other hand, today everything went well. I attacked early with Lucas Schwarzbauer, and at the end of the second climb, I punched it to position myself as the solo leader," said Egger at the finish line. The German mountain biker also paid respect to the race organization and the race route in this first edition.
Francesc Guerra (Buff-Scott) continues to race at high speed; today he scored a time of 2:51:01. In spite of arriving fifth, just after Mariusz Michalek (JBG-2), 2:50:40, he hangs onto the race lead with a total time of 4:49:36 and a time advantage of 1’04” with respect to Georg Egger, and 1’16” ahead of Mariusz Michalek.
"There have been two very demanding stages, and the Queen Stage honors its name. We were able to maintain the lead despite the German riders escaping today. I am very pleased with the results."
Galicia can do it all
Clàudia Galicia (Polar Trek) is aware that she’s not at her physical best at the moment, but she still won again on home turf. She finished today’s stage with a time of 3:33:52, followed by Natalia Fischer (Trek), who scored a time of 3:35:34, and the Norwegian Hildegunn Hovdenak (VPG), 3:39:10 .
Galicia and Fischer matched pace the whole stage and, while Clàudia made time in the descents, Natalia recovered it on the climbs. The final part of the stage was a descent, where Galicia was able to make her mark and score first in the general classification.
"I went out very strong to be first in the single-track. Fischer caught me on the climb but in the last descent, I was able to give it everything I had and was able to escape for the win," explained Galicia.
With this stage result, the classification finds Clàudia Galicia in the lead with an overall time of 6:07:12, and an advantage of 8'21 minutes with respect to Hovdenak, and 14'46 on Fischer.
In other categories the winners are Tomàs Misser for Master 30, Pablo Egeda for Master 40, Pere Joan Roig for Master 50, and Estefanía Gutiérrez for Master Women.
La Molina will be decisive
Tomorrow’s stage will play out completely in the La Molina Bike Park. The stage features 27.95 kilometers and 1,251 meters of accumulated elevation gain. It will be the stage to determine the first winners of the GAES Catalunya Bike Race presented by Shimano.