Gree-Tour of Guangxi stage 4: Milan Vader has the force to win the Queen stage

Jumbo-Visma rider moves into the race lead after conquering the steep slopes to Nongla

Clock09:18, Sunday 15th October 2023
Milan Vader fell to the ground in exhaustion shortly after the finish line, this was a win well earned

© Sprint Cycling Agency

Milan Vader fell to the ground in exhaustion shortly after the finish line, this was a win well earned

Coming towards the end of his second season with Jumbo-Visma, Milan Vader took his first professional victory on the road with victory on stage 4 of the Gree-Tour of Guangxi. The 27-year-old rode away from a small group in the final kilometre of the race's only summit finish on Sunday, providing him with both the stage honours and race lead.

Stage 4 was the Queen stage of the race and the finish atop of the Nongla Scenic Area often proves decisive in the general classification. With that in mind, Jumbo-Visma will be delighted to hold the lead going into the final two stages of the Gree-Tour of Guangxi.

Read more: GCN's Gree-Tour of Guangxi preview

Vader holds a slim advantage of six and 14 seconds over Rémy Rochas (Cofidis) and Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost), respectively. The pair of chasers also finished second and third on stage 4, unable to cling onto Vader's wheels in the closing metres.

For the Dutchman, it was an extra special moment marking his first win since converting from mountain biking to road racing at the beginning of 2022, and the first since a near-fatal horror crash. Such was the intensity of his effort on the 4.6km-long climb that Vader collapsed to the ground after crossing the finish line, rather than posting up in celebration.

"This is a victory from the heart," exclaimed Vader after the finish, whilst Jumbo-Visma coach Maarten Wynants expressed his surprise at the team's second victory in as many days.

"I am speechless," said Wynants. “Olav [Kooij's] win yesterday was already a bit unexpected, but this one is maybe even more. We aimed with Milan for a spot in the top 10, as he was not quite fit at the start. It is then very nice to see him win here, even if you look at his hard fall from last season and the whole rehabilitation process. Milan got a free role today and we had agreed that he would follow the favourites and he did that in a fantastic way.”

Cagey finish unfolds before Vader powers away from the rest

As the only summit finish of the Gree-Tour of Guangxi, stage 4 was always going to be a competitive affair and so it proved, with the breakaway battling hard throughout the day to give themselves a chance.

For the first time in this year's race, the race leader Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was not part of the break, instead deciding to take up a futile attempt to defend his lead from the peloton.

In his absence, the breakaway consisted of teammate Jensen Plowright, Jens Reynders (Israel-Premier Tech), Haoyu Su (China National Team), Julias Johansen (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) and Zdenek Štybar (Jayco AlUla). The latter is perhaps riding the final race of his career and admirably showed himself off the front for much of the stage.

Building a maximum advantage of almost three minutes at one point, the break sensed their chance, but the likes of EF Education-EasyPost, UAE Team Emirates and Movistar worked hard to limit their advantage. In turn, the peloton chipped away little by little at the gap, eventually completing the catch with a little over 10km to ride.

The Nongla Scenic Area ascent is 4.6km long at an average gradient of 7.1%, but the action itself proved cagey amongst the peloton. Early moves from Marijn van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost) and Oscar Onley (dsm-firmenich) were reeled in and the favourites advanced into the final kilometre as a relatively large group.

Amongst their number were the likes of Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), looking to take his first win ahead of a move to Jumbo-Visma, Tim Wellens (UAE Team Emirates), a former winner of this race, and Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers), a fast finisher in any group.

Read more: Matteo Jorgenson reflects on post-Tour de France disillusionment and looks ahead to 2024

However, it was Vader, Rochas and Carthy who looked the most threatening in the final 500m, with all three vying to snap the elastic. Proving the freshest of the trio, Vader kicked away with a little over 300m to ride and powered his way to the finish line alone.

Rochas held Vader in his sights, but couldn't close the gap and came home two seconds down, whilst Carthy led a group of eight over the line with an eight-second deficit.

Race Results

1

nl flag

VADER Milan

Jumbo-Visma

3H 43' 45"

2

fr flag

ROCHAS Rémy

Cofidis

+ 2"

3

gb flag

CARTHY Hugh

EF Education-EasyPost

+ 8"

4

co flag

PEÑA Jesus David

Team Jayco-AlUla

"

5

at flag

GROSSSCHARTNER Felix

UAE Team Emirates

"

6

be flag

MONIQUET Sylvain

Lotto Dstny

"

7

be flag

WELLENS Tim

UAE Team Emirates

"

8

us flag

JORGENSON Matteo

Movistar Team

"

9

fr flag

BARRÉ Louis

Team Arkéa-Samsic

"

10

gb flag

HAYTER Ethan

INEOS Grenadiers

"

Provided by FirstCycling

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