Felix Grosscharnter nearly missed out on top „10” at Spanish one-day race, Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia. It was won by Alejandro Valverde.
Info: February 11th, San Javier – Murcia, 182,7km
Course: hilly, flat finale
It was really hard race. Almost all flat parts before the climbs were crosswind, so we had to go full gas the entire time, to stay in the main group. Also the the pace on the climb was higher than last year – Felix Grossschartner explained. – I’m happy with how we rode as a team. We managed to start the ascent well positioned, only behind Movistar. I’m not that satisfied with how I did the sprint though. I still need to learn a lot how to make decisions in the finale and how to look for the best wheel to “sit on”.
Maciej Paterski was one of the most aggressive riders in an action packed opening of the race, as he was part of an early, 7-man move. They had 40 seconds of advantage, when Lotto-Soudal-led peloton decided to chase. The escape was brought back after 30km of racing. At that point the bunch was split, due to fast pace.
Next attack came from Sam Bewley (Orica-Scott), Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling) and Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal). The trio was given only 1:20 lead, as the main group didn’t want to let them go easily either. They were also reeled in, just before the bottom of the hardest ascent of the day, Alto Collado Bermejo (8,4 km, cat. 1, 6,7%).
Murcia-born Alejandro Valverde didn’t want to wait for the finale and decided to launch his attack on the climb. He established solid gap over the chasers, including Felix Grossschartner, who was part of the 14-man group.
Valverde recorded 2:30 lead at the top of the last climb of the day (cat.3), with 38km to go and maintained it all the way to the line.
The 25-man peloton, which included Austrian from CCC Sprandi Polkowice, was unable to reduce the gap. It came down to a battle for 2nd place, which was won by Jhonatan Restrepo (Team Katusha – Alpecin). Patrick Konrad (Bora – Hansgrohe) finished 3rd. Grossschartner just missed out on top “10”, taking 11th at the line.