BARREDA CONTROLS ADVANATGE ON STAGE FOUR
After spending most of the stage hot on the heels of Marc Coma, Joan Barreda turned on the afterburners to overtake his closest rival in the final kilometres and clinch his second stage win this year. Even more importantly, the HRC rider holds a sizeable lead after just four days of racing.
Beginning the day Joan Barreda had a comfortable buffer in the general classification as he left Chilecito, but it certainly did not dampen his appetite. The presence of Marc Coma, a fast veteran, in his sights put the Spaniard in the ideal position to set a blistering pace and put time into the rest of the field.
With Barreda’s fighting spirit, merely shadowing his KTM rival was never an option, and a late surge was enough to earn Joan a second stage win in the 2015 edition and deal Coma a severe blow.
However, the four-time Dakar winner knows there is still lots of racing left and is set to fight back from the very next stage…
“It was a gruelling stage with lots of navigation work involved. I tried to go as fast as possible and soon I was opening the road. At the end I spent all day long at the front.
“The first part was quite tough. Matthias Walkner got lost towards the start of the stage. The last part featured lots of changes of direction and course. In fact, this type of situation is my cup of tea when riding in the desert. I’ll keep this solid pace up and I’ll inject some speed to force mistakes and problems in others, hoping not to suffer any myself.”
Paulo Gonçalves faded on stage four to concede a quarter of an hour, seemingly unable to compete with his teammate, just like Ruben Faria, who lost eleven minutes and now lies 23 minutes back in the general classification.
Jordi Viladoms, fourth in thestage, also lost over 10 minutes and now sits in fifth place overall, whereas Pablo Quintanilla signed an amazing performance as the Dakar came to his homeland in Chile and climbed up to sixth place in the general classification.
Rookie Matthias Walkner was the big loser of the day, conceding 23 minutes and falling off the provisional podium,
Laia Sanz, on the other hand, had good reason to be cheerful after finishing an excellent eighth…
“What a great day! It was a really fast stage. But it went very well, especially the part in the sand, which I like. There were a couple of waypoints that were difficult to find, but I managed to. Also, I’m feeling good physically after the really tough second stage. Today I was on form in spite of the difficulties of altitude at the San Francisco pass.”
The father and son Pavey duo are still very much in the game. After a tough stage two and recovery stage three the pushed hard on stage four to climb the ranking to 73rd and 74th overall.