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The Movistar captain lived up to promises he would attack in Sunday’s grueling summit finale at Sierra Nevada, and clawed ever closer to both Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) for the top podium spots.
“We have to keep dreaming until Madrid,” Mas said. “There are a few seconds in our favor. I’m happy with how I felt today. Yesterday I didn’t manage things well, and I tried to close the gap too soon, and I paid for it.
“Today I went at my rhythm, and I could create a small gap. Happy, very happy.”
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Mas remained in third, but trimmed the gap to Evenepoel to 2:01, and to second-place Roglič to 25 seconds.
Mas found an ally with Astana’s Miguel Ángel López and David de la Cruz, who pulled clear of the GC group to try to move up López higher on GC. Mas bridged across and worked with the Colombian all the way to the line.
Orgullosos de ti y de tus compañeros, en las buenas y en las malas.
Una semana más por delante, @EnricMasNicolau.
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) September 4, 2022
Mas was second, picking up six extra seconds in bonuses as well.
“Our interests were exactly lined up, I was riding for the podium and he was going for the stage win, but at the same time, I also wanted to work to take time,” Mas said. “Maybe we held back a little because perhaps each of us thought the other one was stronger. Cycling’s like that, and sometimes you have to race intelligently.”
Mas, who was second in 2018 and last year, promises to press his case in the week to come.
“I am enjoying the race, and I am gaining more confidence,” he said.