The Belgian, who is now in his second season with Etixx – Quick-Step, stayed at the front for almost half of the penultimate day's total distance.
On Saturday, the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana peloton faced a course with four categorized ascents, including the frightening Xorret de Cati, a climb of a thousand deaths, where everyone was aware the general classification will play out. But long before hitting that double-digit ascent, the spotlight was on the escapees' group, which included Yves Lampaert. The 24-year-old, who kicked-off his season in January, at the Challenge Mallorca, worked hard to ensure the breakaway will be a long-lived one, together with the other six men at the front: Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Roompot), Liam Bertazzo (Southeast-Venezuela), Vegard Stake Laengen (IAM Cycling), Matti Breschel (Cannondale), Aitor Gonzalez (Euskadi) and Andrea Pasqualon (Team Roth).
After spending almost 70 kilometers in the lead, Yves was caught just as the peloton was getting ready for Xorret de Cati. Astana brought two riders at the front to set up a high pace, but in the end it was Wout Poels (Sky) the one who attacked and managed to drop everyone else, landing the win and taking firm control of the overall standings, with a 46-second gap over Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and almost a minute on teammate Beñat Intxausti. Victorious in stage 2, on Alto de Fredes, Etixx – Quick-Step's Daniel Martin climbed to 13th in the overall classification, just two seconds behind teammate Bob Jungels.
The final stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana will be a hilly one in the first half, but is expected to come down to a bunch sprint in Valencia, where the peloton will ride a 10-lap pan-flat circuit.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele