Mas passes first Vuelta a España mountain test
A strong performance elevated the Spaniard – now the best young rider in the race – to tenth place in the general classification.
Starting from Velez-Malaga, stage four of the season's final Grand Tour took the peloton over Alta de la Cabra Montes climb, through Santa Fe de Granada – where the surrender of Granada was signed on 25 November 1491 between King Boabdil and the Catholic Kings, which led to Christopher Columbus getting his much-needed finance for the journey that was supposed to find a new route to India, and onto Sierra de la Alfaguara, the first summit finish of this edition.
Many riders found themselves in trouble on this new climb of the Vuelta a España, averaging 5.4% over 12.4 kilometers, but not Enric Mas, who stayed with the best despite an injection of pace and a series of attacks inside the final four kilometers of the stage won by Ben King (Dimension Data) from the breakaway.
Composed and attentive as the red jersey group got whittled down to just twelve men on the steeper sections of the ascent, Quick-Step Floors' second-year pro made significant inroads in the general classification, where he is now tenth overall. The end of the day came with a bonus for the Vuelta al Pais Vasco stage victor, who took it to the podium to receive the prize for the best young rider of the race.
"It was a hard stage and I struggled a bit, but I am happy with my performance in the first real mountain day of the race. There's still a long way to Madrid, but I'm glad with my current level and the best young rider, as well as sitting tenth in the GC. I am sure there will be more good stages, but also tougher ones, so I will keep my focus and continue taking it day by the day, giving my all for the team", Enric said at the end of stage four.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images