Ruta del Sol – Stage 4 – Sylvain Chavanel «I have rarely faced such a hard stage finale»

21 February 2015

IAM Cycling

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2015

With the weather, one would have been inclined to believe this was a Belgian classic.  On the contrary, in Andalusia, the fourth stage of the Ruta del Sol threw a level of difficulty at the riders that would never be seen in Flanders.  Above the fray, Chris Froome (Sky) took revenge on Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) by winning the stage and overhauling the Spaniard’s lead by a scant two seconds. 

For IAM Cycling they showed themselves well with Sébastien Reichenbach making a great impression in 7th place on the stage, and Sylvain Chavanel fighting for 19th. His efforts have kept Chavanel in the top-10; he is in 9th place now, 5’30” behind the leader.

It was difficult to shine on the roads of the Ruta del Sol this Saturday, not only on account of the ubiquitous dust, but also due to the extreme difficulty of the route.  In spite of the fact they were facing slopes pitching more than 21%, the IAM Cycling riders felt confident.

“We did a good job even if the stage was difficult because of the weather and the parcours,” Kjell Carlström explained.

“In the end, we could see that Sylvain Chavanel was getting better, and Sébastien Reichenbach really rode very strongly as well.  Everyone did his job perfectly.”

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2015

It is perhaps that fact which gives Carlström the confidence to be optimistic for the team’s chance for Sunday’s final stage. 

“Typically this final stage should not be too much of a problem.  We will try to win the day with Chavanel.  It is a course that might suit him with a small climb before the final.  We will go into the day with a mind to put this scenario into action.”

Chavanel is himself confident that he can do something special.

IMG_1663 - copie

“It was such a difficult stage for climbers,” the multiple champion of France declared at the finish of stage four.  “I have rarely faced an end of a stage that has been so difficult, with pitches of 20% on the climb.  I am satisfied with my condition because day by day, I am getting better and better.  That’s the main thing to remember at the Ruta del Sol.  This is a great race, but you really have to have a top level because it all goes so fast.”

Certainly this Spanish experience will serve as an excellent preparation for the Classics, which already begin next week. 

“It was really a great day,” Chavanel continued.  “With the cold and rain, the stage lasted almost six hours, so obviously I hope that it will be good preparation for what we expect to face in the coming days.”