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David Belda took his third victory of the 2014 season in the first mountain stage of the Volta a Portugal, while Gustavo Cesar attacked on the final climb to take over the leader’s jersey from David de la Parte.

Photo: Sirotti












02.08.2014 @ 19:43 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

This year’s Vuelta a Castilla y Leon general classification winner , David Belda (Burgos-BH), took his third victory of the 2014 season in the first mountain stage of the Volta a Portugal, while Gustavo Cesar (OFM Quinta da Lixa) attacked on the final climb to take over the leader’s jersey from David de la Parte (Efapel-Glassdrive)


A weather treated riders well last two days, but it wasn’t the case in the 180-kilometre long third stage of the Volta a Portugal from Viana do Castelo to Montalegre, as the peloton had to face a first mountain stage of the event under a grey, rainy sky.


Differently than in the two opening stages, it took a longer time to form a breakaway of the day, as sprinter teams were keen to keep everything together before deciding a first intermediate sprint situated on a 10 kilometer mark, with Manuel Cardoso (Banco BIC- Carmim) emerging as the fastest ahead of points classification leader and yesterday’s stage winner Davide Vigano (Caja Rural- Segurol RGA) and Dmitry Sokolov (Lokosphinx).


As it happened, a pace in the peloton went slowly down and a nine-rider breakaway was formed, consisting of Hélder Oliveira (OFM Quinta da Lixa), Daniel Freitas (LA Aluminios – Antarte), Jorge Montenegro (Louletano - Dunas Douradas), Cesar Avellaneda, Daniel Durango (4-72 – Colombia), Jesus Del Pino (Burgos – BH), Dmitry Sokolov (Lokosphinx), Samuel Magalhăes (Seleçăo Portuguesa) and Tim Gebauer (Team Stolting).


An advantage of escapees over the peloton was increasing very slowly, but reached 5 minutes as the riders crossed 50-kilometre mark. Meanwhile, aggressive from the very beginning of today’s stage Sokolov attacked from a breakaway and became a sole leader with 1:40 advantage over a chasing group.


As the peloton took it easy with Efapel-Glassdrive and Banco BIC – Carmim dictating a steady pace at the front, Lokosphinx rider increased a gap to over 6 minutes to race leader and 3:26 to chasing group, winning second intermediate sprint and first out of five KOM sprints in the process.


Sokolov kept on time trialing at the front as the road was heading mainly uphill from 70-kilometre mark, while a cooperation in the chasing group wasn’t developing well and a testy terrain was slowly reducing their advantage over the peloton as next riders from nine-man group were gradually dropping back.


The Lokosphinx rider managed to crest the second and third summit of the day at the front with an advantage of about 2:30 over the peloton, while the first chase group was reeled in and replaced by Antonio Carvalho (LA Aluminios – Antarte) and Joao Perreira (Banco BIC – Carmim), who jumped clear on the third ascent and quickly opened a 36” gap.


The situation has changed significantly on the penultimate climb of today’s stage as the chasing duo cooperated well and reduced a gap to a sole leader, and even though Sokolov took all points in the KOM sprint on Contim climb, Carvalho and Perreira caught him shortly afterwards and quickly left tired Lokosphinx rider behind.


The peloton keep it calm and an advantage of the front duo has been reduced slowly yet steadily to 1:15 with 25 kilometers to go, where sole chaser Sokolov was caught. The pace was upped significantly by leader’s squad since then, and it took only next 10 kilometers to reel the escapees it.


As expected, the stage was decided on the final climb of today’s stage and first significant gaps in the general classification were opened. Even though Efapel-Glassdrive were the main force dictating a pace on the ascent to Serra do Larouco, hoping to prevent attacks of more dynamic riders, they eventually didn’t manage to keep the leader’s jersey.


With 5 kilometers to go there were about 20 riders left in the leader’s group and David Belda (Burgos-BH) jumped clear to gain a 15 seconds advantage, which he managed to maintain in order to take season’s second stage victory following his success in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon.


Behind his back, Gustavo Cesar (OFM Quinta da Lixa) attacked followed by Efapel-Glassdrive rider Ricardo Mestre, and an 13 seconds advantage over a group of the leaders elevated him to a new Volta a Portugal leader ahead of Victor de la Parte (Efapel-Glassdrive) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural).



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