Herrero: “I felt strong.”
The sun rises brightly every morning in the desert. It emerges from between the dunes, illuminating everything at once. Today, it seemed dimmer. The routine was the same: wake up at 6 a.m., have breakfast, and get ready to leave. But the atmosphere was different. Everything was centred on the minute of silence that the race capsule dedicated to Ernesto Escolano. The silence turned into emotional and effusive applause, in memory of the Titan who left us, unfortunately, yesterday.
Perhaps with this in mind, the peloton rode a little slower than on the previous three days. They arrived at the first checkpoint very grouped in the lead and the attempts to navigate by some of the riders did not bear fruit in the long run. With 116 kilometres of the stage ahead, the GC favourites decided to take it easy and not force attacks that might later make them suffer.
🥇Francisco Herrero vence en esta 3.ª etapa, de nuevo al sprint.
Anna Ramírez afianza su maillot de líder llevándose la 4.ª etapa.
🥇Francisco Herrero wins the 3rd stage, again by sprint.
Anna Ramírez consolidates her leader's jersey by taking the 4th stage. pic.twitter.com/amLyVVukh9
— ŠKODA Titan Desert Morocco (@TitanDesert) May 11, 2022
Finally, the elites arrived in a leading group that disputed the sprint. Francisco Herrero won another day over the rest. The stage classification was Herrero ahead of Oriol Colomé and Konny Looser. The rider from Segovia who wears the penultimate bib of the peloton has not let go of the overall lead since the first day. He is still the leader and is already dreaming of taking the red jersey to Madrid.
Herrero: “I felt strong enough to stay in the lead of the race and although Looser was close behind me, I was able to escape in the final sprint.”
General classification male
1. FRANCISCO HERRERO (CANNONDALE TB) – 15:23:20
2. KONNY LOOSER (TAMAYO TEAM) – 15:23:23
3. PAU MARZA (THE WHITE ANGEL BY SANTIVERI) – 15:23:24
4. JULEN ZUBERO (KRYPTEIA) – 15:29:13
5. ORIOL COLOME – 15:29:18
6. LUIS ENRIQUE LOPEZ (KH7) – 15:39:46
7. PAU SALVÀ (FACTOR8 CYCLING PROJECT) – 15:40:14
8. GUILLEM MUÑOZ (EDIBIKES) – 15:40:33
9. PABLO GARRIDO (GOBIK FACTORY TEAM) – 15:48:06
10. HAIMAR ZUBELDIA (KRYPTEIA) – 15:49:38
Ramírez: “I’ll fight without stress.”
Once again, the women’s GC was a duel between Vera Looser who is not giving up in the fight and Anna Ramirez who is taking it easy, measuring her efforts but maintaining her ambition.
Both riders were grouped together throughout the race, with minimal gaps that were being cut towards the end of the stage. The sprint was, once again, for Ramírez. The Catalan adds her third partial victory. Three out of four and a blue jersey that Looser seems unable to jeopardize.
The Looser couple will have their big chance tomorrow to turn the general classification around. The navigation section and the ŠKODA Challenge may cause the leaders to hesitate or break down. A chance for some to swing the swords and storm the throne of the two riders who have been leaders since the beginning of this ŠKODA Titan Desert Morocco 2022.
Ramírez: “If I can take the stages in the sprint, I’m going to fight for it. But what I’m not going to do is stress for more wins.”
General classification female
1. ANNA RAMÍREZ (KH7) – 17:17:07
2. VERA LOOSER (TAMAYO TEAM) – 17:22:05
3. RAMONA GABRIEL (GARMIN-LAPIERRE) – 17:46:34
4. HILDEGUNN GJERTRUD (CANNONDALE TB) – 18:04:05
5. VERONIQUE FORTIN (THE WHITE ANGEL BY SANTIVERI) – 19:01:34
6. MARTA TORA (CANNONDALE TB) – 19:06:58
7. ARIADNA RODENAS (AZONA) – 19:17:02
8. ZUZANA BOHACOVA (ŠKODA AUTO WE LOVE CYCLING TEAM) – 19:39:33
9. LEX ALBRECHT (THE WHITE ANGEL BY SANTIVERI) – 19:44:33
10. ALBA SOLES (EDIBIKES) – 20:02:30
What will tomorrow bring?
A stage that starts with an unprecedented erg and is somewhat longer than what has been crossed in other editions. Just before this succession of dunes, the ŠKODA Challenge will be decided. The fastest to complete in this sector will receive a bonus of 60 seconds in the GC.
Arriving in the erg area, the route crosses a large track before reaching a smaller one. These plains and small canyons lead to a large chott, the last step before reaching the final part of the day.
The last part of the day passes through large open spaces to reach the base of the camp dunes, which will accompany the participants for two nights.