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Antwan Tolhoek has finished just outside the top ten in the fourth stage of the Ruta del Sol. In the last mountain stage, the Dutch climber of Team Jumbo-Visma crossed the line in twelfth place in the first chasing group at 1.14 from stage winner Jack Haig. In the overall classification, Tolhoek is now eleventh at 3.20 from leader Jakob Fuglsang.
Chris Harper could not defend his good position in the overall classification due to a mechanical problem. The Australian had to deal with a chain problem when Astana and Bahrain-Mclaren pulled through, after which he had to change bikes. Harper was awaited by his Team Jumbo-Visma teammates. After a long chase they were almost back in the front peloton at the foot of the final climb, but Harper never got to see the front of the race again.
Lennard Hofstede animated the stage for the second consecutive day. The Dutchman was part of the day’s breakaway once again. They got a maximum lead of almost three minutes, but were caught at the foot of the Alto del Purche. Tolhoek then climbed along with the best for a long time, but had to pass when Fuglsang, Landa and Haig attacked.
“I finished where I belong today”, Tolhoek explained. “I was in the first chasing group behind the top five. They really went too fast for me on the climb. On the short climbs I can keep up with them, but on the longer climbs I come short at the moment. The team did a great job today. Paul, Bert-Jan, Taco and later also Lennard supported me really well just as they have done all week. I feel really good and also I feel that the power is coming. This gives me confidence for the rest of the season. Time-trials are not my thing, but I will give everything I have tomorrow and I will try to finish as well as possible.”
“Antwan and Lennard did a good job today, but it is a pity that Chris was unable to defend his good overall position”, sports director Arthur van Dongen said. “We knew that after the first few climbs there was a difficult descent with a bad road surface and we wanted to be positioned in the front before we hit that stretch of road. We were where we needed to be. But on the climb just before the descent Chris had to deal with mechanical problems, just when the GC teams pulled through. The team did an excellent job afterwards and Chris rode a strong final climb, but he never saw the front of the race again.”