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James Moultrie

Pelayo Sánchez takes thrilling win at Challenge Mallorca - Trofeo Pollença

Pelayo Sanchez takes the win at the Challenge Mallorca.

New Movistar signing Pelayo Sánchez took a thrilling victory at the Trofeo Pollença - Port d'Andratx after outsprinting Marius Mayrhofer (Tudor Pro Cycling) in a chaotic final kilometre. Mayrhofer took up the mantle of chasing a late attack from Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) but paid the price in the final sprint with Sánchez coming around him in the final 150 metres.

Sánchez's victory was the first of the 2024 season for Movistar and the first by a Spaniard at this year's Challenge Mallorca.

Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) took his third podium of the week at the Challenge Mallorca after another strong performance with Tobias Halland Johannessen (Uno-X Mobility) in fourth.

Lennert Van Eetvelt (Lotto-Dstny) was the strongest on the final climb and looked set to make it back-to-back wins at the five days of racing before his companion at the front of the race, Igor Arrieta (UAE Team Emirates), crashed with 6km to race, leaving him solo in the wind.

After catching the morning breakaway, Arrieta led the race from 40km to go before Van Eetvelt reeled him in 13km from the line in Andratx on the Coll de sa Gramola and dropped him. But his race wasn’t done as he chased back onto the Belgian on the final descent, only to crash out of contention.

The fourth day of Challenge Mallorca welcomed a six-man break to form in the opening 110km of racing including Idar Andersen (Uno-X Mobility), Jonas Gregaard (Lotto Dstny), Dylan Vandenstorme (Team Flanders-Baloise), Cole Kessler (Lidl-Trek Future Racing), Hugo Scala Jr (Project Echelon Racing) and Sebastian Niehues (REMBE Pro Cycling Team Sauerland).

Former teammates Gregaard and Andersen lasted the longest before being reabsorbed by the chase behind, at which point Igor Arrieta (UAE Team Emirates) accelerated off the front of the peloton with 39km to go attacking the scenic hairpins on the Coll den Claret descent. 

His advantage quickly grew to 30 seconds as the peloton fanned across the road trying to get the chase together. In the chaos, Alex Aranburu (Movistar) crashed at the back of the peloton and was seen clutching his right shoulder and collarbone area in pain. 

Attacks were launched in pursuit of Arrieta by Michael Valgren (EF Education-EasyPost) and Frederik Wandahl (Bora-Hansgrohe), but no concerted effort could be formed with Arrieta’s teammate Brandon McNulty also working to stifle any rhythm from the chasers.

Arrieta hit the final climb up to Coll de sa Gramola (3.8km at 4.2%) with around 40 seconds in hand and it was yesterday’s winner Lennert Van Eetvelt (Lotto-Dstny), Gregor Mühlberger (Movistar) and Yves Lampaert (Soudal-QuickStep) that set off to try and reel him in. 

Van Eetvelt left his fellow chasers in his wake with Arrieta in his crosshairs, knowing her had to catch the Spanish rider before the top if he was to make it two wins in as many days. Arrieta’s gap was melting away as the road continued to the top before the catch was made with 13km remaining. 

As it’s been all week, when either Vlasov or McNulty goes, the other isn’t far behind but with Arrieta dropping, it was up to the Emirati team to use their alternate options before Van Eetvelt disappeared into the distance. 

He reached the top of the final climb solo with a narrow 15-second margin on Arrieta before the young Spanish rider showed his downhill skills and caught him back on the descent to the line. But it wasn’t to be for the 21-year-old who slipped out on a left-hand corner just 6km from the line in Andratx.

This all but confirmed Van Eetvelt’s fate with the Belgian now facing a solo test to the finish and the group behind was not hanging around. Mayrhofer did most of the work as the likely fastest man remaining, and a powerful couple of turns meant racing was back together 2km from the line. 

Soler hit out for glory as the group looked at each other and his opportunistic attack would’ve made it if not for the German sacrificing himself for any chance of winning. Sánchez played it better and gambled on Mayrhofer chasing, allowing the Movistar man to come around him in the final bend to the line. 

Sánchez opened Movistar’s 2024 account in only his fourth race for his new team after signing from Burgos-BH last summer. This was his second professional victory adding to his win on stage 3 of last season’s Vuelta Asturias - his home race.  


Results powered by FirstCycling

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