Nathan Haas put the icing on the cake for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka during stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgos, powering to the victory in Lerme ahead of Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC Racing) and Patrick Bevin (Cannondale-Drapac). Jacques Janse van Rensburg pulled on the King of the Mountains jersey after another day in the break.
Starting in Aranda de Duero, Jacques Janse van Rensburg showed once again he is coming into some great form by making the early break of the day on stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgos. Our South African was joined by 4 other riders and the quintet proceeded to ride their way to a 3-minute lead over the peloton.
The 145km stage was up and down all day with 2 cat 3 climbs in the middle portion of the stage. Janse van Rensburg was first over the earlier cat 3 and then on the final cat 3 climb that peaked with 31km to go, Janse van Rensburg attacked the break along with Lluis Mas (Caja Rural). By going over the top of the final climb first, our South African climber took the overall lead in the King of the Mountains competition.
With the jersey secured, Janse van Rensburg pushed on with Mas but the peloton made sure the duo was caught with 15km to go. The finish in Lerma was technical and the final 700m went up a narrow 7% gradient cobbled climb. It was a stage we had targeted with Haas during our pre-race planning and so once the break was caught, our 6 remaining riders moved Haas to the head of the peloton. It was a fantastic display of teamwork by our African Team.
Being at the head of the race coming into Lerma was vital as some crosswinds saw a front split of 20 riders go clear. Haas was well placed in the front split with 2 teammates and even though they were brought back with 1,5km to go, our African Team riders put in a big acceleration to ensure Haas took the all-important left hand corner with 800m to go in the first 3 positions. From this point Haas showed his strength and class, powering up the cobbled road with nobody able to hold his wheel and taking a fine win for our African Team.
Nathan Haas – Rider
Vuelta a Burgos has been a fantastic opportunity for us, the group that is going to the Vuelta a Espana, to come together and really create a good energy. I’ve always been a firm believer that teamwork makes wins happen, it doesn’t happen purely because someone is good or strong. It happens because the whole team is together and doing exactly what they need to. The last 3 days we have had some absolutely fantastic moments and we’ve also had some misfortune, which is probably why hadn’t had a victory yet this week. Today the team committed for me, which is a responsibility I take very seriously. I don’t ask to lead a race unless I think I can win it. So a huge thanks to the guys for believing in me and I think the way we are working here is really exciting coming into the Vuelta a Espana. I think we will see something pretty exciting in the next month.
Alex Sans Vega – Sports Director
It is great day for the team here at the Vuelta a Burgos. From the first day we arrived at Burgos Nathan already had it in his head to go for the stage today, it was his big goal. He achieved it after some really great teamwork from all the guys. Every day the team has been riding well but today was really superb. Jacques was in the breakaway and he won enough points to take the lead in the King of the Mountains competition. In the final crosswind, Katusha really set the race on fire but the guys were in the front and able to deliver Nathan to the last corner in the best position. It was a great effort by the guys and then Nathan did his job in the final. We are super happy, and it is great motivation for the team going to the Vuelta a Espana.