Martin climbs in Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana GC
Our team will start the final day with two riders in the top 10 overall.
Quick-Step Floors' riders were active from the start of the penultimate stage (Segorbe – Llucena, 180 kilometers), which included five classified climb and over 4000 vertical meters, making it one of the most difficult races of the beginning of the season. Laurens De Plus and Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert booked a place into the break together with three other men, managing to open a 4:40 advantage before the peloton decided to start the chase and bring them back before the final ascent of the day.
As expected, despite their brave effort, the two Quick-Step Floors riders, together with their companions, were caught by the bottom of the ferocious Mas de la Costa, a climb which was returning in a race less than half a year since making its debut in the Vuelta a España. Averaging 12.8% over 4 kilometers, and having passages of even 21%, Mas de la Costa split the field early and created some big gaps between the contenders.
Colombia's Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was the first to attack and as no one could stick to his wheel on the double-digit gradients, he soloed to victory and the yellow jersey, beating Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data) and Amaro Antunes (FC Porto).
Quick-Step Floors' Daniel Martin dug deep on this excruciating stage of Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and rolled over the line in sixth, making an impressive jump of five places in the general classification, where he now lies in fifth. Teammate David De La Cruz is seventh, which makes him the best Spaniard in the race, while Philippe Gilbert, in his first event for the squad, now wears the orange jersey, which rewards the leader of the combined standings.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele