Promising Portuguese talent Rui Costa (Caisse d’Epargne) delivered a big win in Wednesday’s fourth day of the Mallorca Challenge in the 143km stage starting and finishing in Deià.
In what was another cold race, the 24-year-old out-kicked local rider Joan Horrach (Katusha), who was born and lives in Deià along Mallorca’s rugged west coast.
“I am very happy. I should thank my teammates, with five in the final group, who did exceptional work to help me win,” Costa said. “This is my second year on the team and I’ve learned a lot. This win is the fruit of that labor. When Horrach attacked, I went with him because I knew it was a good wheel to be on. He knows the roads around here and he descends well.”
Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) joined Horrach and Costa on the attack coming off the second of two second-category climbs late in the race. The trio opened up a 30-second gap to the chasing pack, led by HTC-Columbia, riding for sprinter Vicente Reynes, who also hails from Deià.
Taaramae lost the wheel, but Costa took one final dig to fend off Horrach, with José Ivan Gutiérrez (Caisse d’Epargne) leading the main pack across the line at seven seconds in arrears.
“I pedaled for all I was worth to try to win, but it wasn’t possible,” Horrach said. “I attacked at the maximum on the descent, knowing that I had two others with me. I didn’t look back because I knew the group was coming very fast. I went as hard as I could and in the end I had some cramps and I couldn’t go anymore. There are no friends here. Even though I raced five years with Caisse d’Epargne, that doesn’t mean they are going to let me win. Costa took advantage of my work and in the end, he won.”
Italian Eros Capecchi led the action up the Coll del Puigmajor (Category 2) with Botcharov (Katusha) and Taaramäe (Cofidis). Horrach (Katusha) and Costa (Caisse d’Epargne) joined on the descent, Capecchi lost contact along with Botcharov in the difficult descent and ruined his victory chances.