Rally Cycling was ready for fireworks on Tour Colombia's stage 4 and properly looked after team leader Gavin Mannion for his assualt on the GC. The brutally hard day promised a preview of Sunday’s summit finish, but nobody expected such a full-gas display of explosive aggression. It was the high altitude climbers who excelled in the thin air of Santa Rosa de Viterbo, with Sergio Higuita of EF Pro Cycling sprinting clear of Tour champ, Egan Bernal (Team INEOS). A solid performance by the team to setup Mannion results in a 14th place for the Colorado resident and a move into the top 10 overall.
Is this an altitude hallucination, or did we just ride up and down the same Colombian highway for the third day in a row?
It all came down to the final climb of the day, the Alto Malterías. Five kilometers long with the KOM point placed three kilometers short of the finish line.
Things are hotting up. The mercury topped 86°F today with a solid tailwind following for the second half of the stage.
Quote of the day
“The pace from the bottom of the final climb was crazy. Fortunately, the team set me up perfectly and Colin got me to the front when Ineos lit it up. On the steepest section, their leaders hit out and it blew apart. I was already on the limit and had no top end with the altitude, so I was happy to hang on to a decent stage result. I’m very happy moving into the top 10 given the level of competition here.”
- An adorable puppy frolics into the road a moment before the intermediate sprint. A nation holds its breath as the seven-rider breakaway safely navigates around the playful canine.
- Colin Joyce steers Mannion through the sketchy run-in to the stage finale.
- INEOS drops the hammer on the final climb of Alto Malterías and everything blows apart. An elite group contest the uphill sprint, with Higuita (EF Pro Cycling) victorious.
- Thanks to the help of teammates in the early part of the climb, Mannion battles to 14th on the stage and a position in the top 10 overall.
Mannion’s good result on the stage means a GC top ten is in the cards, building on the great team performance of stage 1 in the team time trial. Tomorrow’s stage five looks like a bunch sprint where the team will be trying to put Colin Joyce into contention, while the GC is set to come down to who climbs best on the Alto El Verjón at the climax of stage six. It’s a big weekend ahead!