Thomas De Gendt wins the stage as Nairo Quintana is the best of the overall contenders in the Volta a Catalunya's major mountain stage
- Chris Froome loses time to rivals

Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar) staked his claim on the 2016 Volta a Catalunya, placing second on the ‘queen’ mountain stage to Port Ainé behind stage winner Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) to take the overall lead.

De Gendt took a solo victory after spending the day in the break, and managed to hold off the group of overall contenders behind him. It’s De Gendt’s first victory since he won a stage in the same race in 2013.

Quintana finished one minute and eight seconds behind De Gendt after he had attacked the chasing group of favourites. Defending champion Richie Porte (BMC) just pipped Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) to take third place on the stage.

Thomas De Gendt wins stage four of the 2016 Volta a Catalunya

Thomas De Gendt wins stage four of the 2016 Volta a Catalunya

Quintana now leads Contador by eight seconds overall, with Porte in third at 17 seconds.

Team Sky leader Chris Froome finished in eighth spot at the same time as overnight leader and stage three winner Daniel Martin (Etixx-QuickStep). Unlike the previous day’s stage, Sky riders were noticeably absent in the day’s finale. Froome had said prior to the stage that he was still ‘finding his legs’ in his first major race in Europe this season.

>>> Chris Froome admits he’s still ‘finding his legs’ in Volta a Catalunya

Froome now sits in eighth place overall, one place ahead of 21-year-old British rider Hugh Carthy (Caja Rural) who has made an solid impression on the race’s mountain stages.

Geraint Thomas (Sky) finished 74th on the stage, 14-33 behind De Gendt and is 53rd overall.

With the race’s high mountain stages now completed, the opportunities for riders with general classification aspirations to gain time is significantly reduced. However, Friday’s stage five from Rialp to Valls includes the second-category climb and descent of Alt de Lilla within the final 10km, perhaps offering a springboard for an attack.

The 2016 Volta a Catalunya concludes on Sunday, March 27, in Barcelona.


Volta a Catalunya 2016, stage four: Bagà to Port Ainé, 172km
1. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto-Soudal in 4-52-04
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 1-08
3. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing at 1-23
4. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff at same time
5. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at 1-36
6. Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot Oranje Peloton at same time
7. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha at 1-41
8. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 1-45
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r at same time
10. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx-QuickStep at same time

General classification after stage four
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 19-01-43
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff at 8 secs
3. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing at 17 secs
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx-QuickStep at 24 secs
5. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at 27 secs
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r at 32 secs
7. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha at 42 secs
8. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 46 secs
9. Hugh Carthy (GBr) Caja Rural at 1-01
10. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale Pro Cycling at 1-16

Nairo Quintana on stage four of the 2016 Volta a Catalunya

Nairo Quintana on stage four of the 2016 Volta a Catalunya

  • Richard Rosser

    I am astounded by the continual and repeated negative comments about Carlton Kirby. These appear to be from the cycling snobs who know it was much better when only they watched it and all their discussion about gear ratios and other navel gazing topics dominated the conversations.
    Cycling is a sport which has a lot of technical aspects which can become very boring. It is also a sport which has personalities both on and off the bikes and a combination of an uncomfortable past and fascinating future.
    Kirby covers all of these aspects without fear or favour and quite happily brings in his co-commentators to discuss technical aspects while translating them for the hard of understanding like me.
    How tragic would a 3 hour commentary be without the humour, asides and general quirkiness that Mr Kirby brings to it.
    Otherwise it would be buried in its own gravitas.

  • John Westwell

    Hugh Carthy seems to be doing an excellent ride. He was obviously finding his feet after moving to Caja Rural last year, but it looks like he’s beginning to live up to his potential.

  • SnowHare

    Kirby read out a message from a viewer during yesterday’s race, asking that he not be so vacuous (how true). His commentary is poor, as well as the irritating verbal tics, wanking on about food, the giggling, and lack of gravitas. Just dire.
    Matt Stephens and Brian Smith’s Milan-San Remo commentary was excellent, IMO. Informed and unobtrusive (unlike Kirby).

  • Chumply Chummunderson

    Carlton Crazy was particularly out there yesterday, and if we’re calling for a cull I’d like to add Declan Cliche from the commentary seat, along with Smith and Gibbs from the analyst seat.
    Hatch & Stephens for me.

  • BuffyzDead

    here, here …and I’ll fix that for you ….(along with his gaffs at awful commentary)

  • David Bassett

    If ever there was a reason to get rid of Carlton Kirby (apart from his gaffs a awful commentary) then his remark that Thomas De Gendt winning this stage was a plaster to fix the bombing in Belgium. Surely he must go.