The Frenchman has moved up in the general classification with two days to go.
It wasn’t your regular finish for this time of the year, at 2760 meters of altitude, but Julian Alaphilippe rose up to the challenge and put in a cracking ride on what proved to be one of the most exciting races seen since the start of the season. Disputed entirely in the Boyaca department, stage 4 from Paipa to Santa Rosa de Viterbo took its toll on many riders and splintered the field before the peloton approached the last climb, where everything exploded.
After animating the day, the seven-man breakaway eventually succumbed and were swarmed with five kilometers to go, despite a crash disrupting the chase late into the stage. Many of the GC contenders bolted away from the pack, but those attacks prompted other responses, including one from Julian Alaphilippe. With the flamme rouge in sight, Richard Carapaz (Ineos) dashed away and opened what looked to be a decisive gap, but that attack was closed down by the swashbuckling Frenchman, who rocketed up and took matters into his own hands.
Unfortunately for Alaphilippe, the huge effort laid down in reeling in the Ecuadorian and the high altitude were felt in the legs with 150 meters to go and he was passed by two riders with the line in sight, finishing third. Despite missing out on what would have been his third stage victory in as many participations at the Tour Colombia, Julian can still take a lot of heart from Friday’s valiant ride, especially as it came in just his sixth day of racing this season and after a bout of illness forced him to abandon last month’s Vuelta a San Juan.
Tour Colombia continues Saturday afternoon with a 180.5 kilometers between Paipa and Zipaquira, which can go either to the attackers or the sprinters, if the latter’s teams will manage to keep things under control.
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