As the rest of the week, Jonas Vingegaard proved unbeatable on Sunday in the final stage of O Gran Camiño, shortened due to weather conditions. However, on the final climb of Monte Aloia, Lenny Martinez came up as the strongest among the rest of the field. On the line, the young French climber took an excellent second place, fifteen seconds behind the double winner of the Tour, therefore climbing to the same position in the general classification. Quentin Pacher also took 9th on the day and finished the race in seventh place.

This Sunday, everything had to be decided on O Gran Camiño, in the fourth and “queen” stage leading to the Natural Park of Monte Aloia. Nearly 3,500 meters of elevation gain featured over the 162 kilometers initially on the menu, with the double ascent of the Monte Aloia (7 km at 8%). At least that was the course at the start of the day, but the pouring rain and the harsh conditions eventually led the organizers to reconsider their plans. “The stage was shortened, as the second loop around Monte Aloia was cancelled,” explained Jussi Veikkanen. “It was not planned this morning, but the teams, commissaires and riders discussed it during the stage, and the decision was made. It therefore came down to just one climb, which was not necessarily to the advantage of our climbers, but this decision satisfied everyone.” In the meantime, the breakaway really struggled to establish in the first part of the race. It took almost fifty kilometres to see Eric Antonio Fagundez (Burgos BH), Asier Etxeberria (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Joaquim Silva, Pedro Pinto (Efapel Cycling), Rafael Reis (Team Sabgal/Anicolor), Walter Calzoni (Q36.5 Pro Cycling) and Neilson Powless (EF Education-Easy Post) take the lead.

“It’s the first time, but not the last”, Lenny Martinez

When the shortening of the stage was announced, the breakaway had a lead of three minutes while the Alto de San Cosme and Monte Aloia were still to be done. This announcement also led the bunch to chase earlier in order to capture the fugitives, with terrible weather still on going. “You had to cover yourself well,” explained Lenny Martinez. “I stopped at the car to get clothes because I was really starting to feel cold. It’s always special, because when it’s going fast, you feel warm, then as soon as it calms down, you’re cold again. You have to deal with this well. As the final approached, I took off all my stuff to finish just with my regular jersey on the last climb.” It was precisely at the bottom of this ascent the breakaway was caught and the final fight between the favorites could begin. And this is Groupama-FDJ with its young leader Lenny Martinez that opened it up. “The guys did a good job, as usual, and I was able to tackle the last climb in a good position,” he explained. “I launched a first attack and was then able to respond straight away to Vingegaard’s counterattack. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to follow but I stayed 10-15 seconds behind to manage my effort and not explode.”

Three kilometers from the top, after a first selection made by the Frenchman, the Danish rider went and managed to drop everyone. In the closest chasing group, the Groupama-FDJ climber first found himself with Jefferson Cepeda before going alone in the last kilometre of the climb. Although he was unable to challenge Vingegaard for victory, he did, however, take a superb second place, fifteen seconds behind, which allowed him to climb onto the final podium. “I am very happy to be second overall between Jonas Vingegaard and Egan Bernal, who are great champions,” said the young man. “It’s great! This is the first time that I am straight into Jonas’ wheel when he attacks and that I fight with him to win the stage. It’s the first time, but it’s not the last. It bodes well, and I want to do that again in the future.” “Lenny did a great climb,” greeted Jussi. “He couldn’t keep up with Vingegaard, but he fought until the end, and his attack also allowed him to gain a few places overall. Quentin also did well on the climb.” Ninth at the top, Occitan also secured a place in the top-10 overall, in seventh position. After his victory in the Classic Var and his second place on O Gran Camiño, Lenny Martinez will now head to Italy for the Trofeo Laigueglia on Wednesday.

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