Barbero made it three for three for the Spaniards, taking the bunch sprint to take the victory at the Stage 4 Ville de Québec Circuit 124.8km – 13 laps of a 9.6km route – but the yellow jersey remains on the back of Skujins. Dion Smith (Nzl) Hincapie Racing Team finished second and Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team Smartstop was third.
Boivin animated the stage as he, Mauricio Ortega (Col) Orgullo Antioqueno and Hugh Carthy (Gbr) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, joined Alexander Braico (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis and Evan Huffman (USA) Team Smartstop. But the chasing pack closed the gap as the lead group splintered and then Carthy attacked.
On the final lap it was groupo compacto and Barbero took bunch sprint victory. The top Canadian was Ryan Roth (Can) Silber Pro Cycling in 15th and the former Canadian champ is now 5th overall with fellow Canuck Robert Britton (Team Smartstop), who was 18th today, sitting in 10th on the GC.
With his second place in the stage, Smith moved up to second place overall, just behind his teammate Skujins, while the two Spaniards, Txurruka and Bilbao, are sitting third and fourth.
This situation sets things up for a heated battle in the final stage on Sunday through the streets of Saint-George. “We are one and two in the overall standings,” said Skujins, and our team is very strong when we work together and now everyone feels great. Is it me or Dion that will take the yellow jersey, I do not know exactly who and it makes no difference, as long as it is the team.”
His teammate Smith said he was happy with his race. “It was a very good race for us, we are the strongest when the whole team works together. We followed the guy in the first 10 laps and everything was fine. I rode well, I feel good, I was in every shot today and I consider myself as an alternate to conquer the yellow jersey if Toms (Skujins) finds trouble,” commented Smith.
For the holder of the yellow jersey, the race was not a cakewalk. “It was harder than we thought,” he summarized. “It was not us who worked to bring the breakaway. Personally, I still had good legs. I was a little surprised to see Caja Rural attack, but that was their strategy. We are two very good teams and it will be a good fight for the last stage, with different strategies.”
If the title of most aggressive rider would be awarded, there is no doubt that the prize would immediately go to Optum’s Boivin, Friday night’s criterium winner, who pushed the pace in the breakaway for most of the stage.
“I’m glad,” commented Boivin at the finish. “Nine times out of ten this break would make it to the finish line. When we caught up with the Caja Rural rider, he would not take his relay. We did not try to catch him right away to get him tired. Then his team forced the train, and I was caught in the final descent of the Gilmore hill. I had great legs and there are many cyclists who think that, because of my size, I’m not a good climber. This is not the case. It was fun to race in Quebec City and in front of my family.”
With files from TdB.
1. Carlos Barbero Cuesta (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 3:07:47
2. Dion Smith (Nzl) Hincapie Racing Team
3. Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team Smartstop
4. Amets Txurruka Ansola (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
6. James Oram (Nzl) Axeon Cycling Team
7. Ruben Antonio Almeida Guerreiro (Por) Axeon Cycling Team
8. Eduard Prades (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Tom Skujins (Lat) Hincapie Racing Team
10. Greg Daniel (USA) Axeon Cycling Team
15. Ryan Roth (Can) Silber Pro Cycling 0:05
18. Robert Britton (Can) Team Smartstop 0:07
20. Alex Cataford (Can) Silber Pro Cycling
GC after Stage 4
1. Tom Skujins (Lat) Hincapie Racing Team 13:56:39
2. Dion Smith (Nzl) Hincapie Racing Team 0:07
3. Amets Txurruka Ansola (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:09
4. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:10
5. Ryan Roth (Can) Silber Pro Cycling 0:27
10. Robert Britton (Can) Team Smartstop 1:30
1. Dion Smith (Nzl) Hincapie Racing Team 44 points
2. Amets Txurruka Ansola (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 41
3. Eduard Prades Reverter (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 39
10. Ryan Roth (Can) Silber Pro Cycling 22
1. Mauricio Ortega (Col) Orgullo Antioqueno 47 points
2. Guillaume Boivin (Can) Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies 28
3. Amets Txurruka Ansola (Esp) Aja Rural-Seguros RGA 25
5. Michael Le Rossignol (Can) Silber Pro Cycling 20
Best Young Rider
1. Dion Smith (Nzl) Hincapie Racing Team
Full results here.