Stage 3 of the Volta Catalunya started and finished in the cycling mecca in Girona. A destination famous for its easy access to steep climbs and twisty roads, much of the peloton calls this city home. The race was animated from the beginning with lots of attacks. After about 45 minutes a break of six riders got away. By… Read more →
Stage 2 of the Volta Catalunya sent the peloton 191.8 kilometres from Mataro to Olot. Olot has been included a number of times along the route of the Volta but never as a finishing town. Famous for great roads and mountainous terrain it is an ideal training destination. The constant pouring rain and cold temperates made for a difficult day for the riders. But things heated up from the start when breakaway of four riders got away. This group was made up of Sam Bewley (Orica-GreenEdge), Luis Mas Bonet (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Tom Stamsnijder (Giant-Alpecin) and Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida). CCC protected the leaders jersey well taking charge at the front of the peloton right from the beginning and never let the escapees have more than 4 minutes.
When the peloton approached the town of Besalu nerves in the peloton took over and the pace increased rapidly with each team fighting to be in the front for the technical and hilly last 25km. Etixx, Cannondale-Garmin, Sky, and Tinkoff-Saxo all took turns on the front splitting the peloton. On the last climb many attacks came. Contador, Porte, Danielson, and Poels all were aggressive but the strong headwind and shallow gradient did not allow anyone to go far. A reduced peloton finally made its way down to the round-about strew last 5km in which Alejandro Valverde emerged victorious.
Stage 3 Girona to Girona looks to be one of the most challenging stages going up one of my favorite climbs Els’ Angles twice. This is where we will see the GC favorites for overall victory emerge.
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Stage 1 of Volta Catalunya started and finished in the coastal town of Calella. It proved to be a fast and very nervous stage as the difficult course meant that a sprint finish was not likely. No team was eager to control the race. After one hour of racing covering 50 kilometers, a breakaway of 6 riders went clear. This looked to be the move of the day but Orica-Greenedge missed the move and chased it back. During the second hour of racing a group of three was able to get away and stick. The peloton let this break gain almost 15 minutes before Sky, Movistar, Etixx, and Cannondale-Garmin began to chase. The wet twisty descents coupled with two big mountain passes allowed the break to hold it’s gap. Finally, Sky surged forward and split the peloton into pieces during the last last 3 km of the Cat 1 climb. After sitting in all day Tinkoff began to chase during the last 20 km and the gap to the 3 leaders started decreasing rapidly. But it was to little to late, at the finish the 3 riders had a 2:40 advantage. Macie Paterski (CCC) took the stage even after racing Milan-San Remo the day before placing an impressive 22nd. Pierre Roland (EuropCar) took 2nd and is a proven general classification rider finishing 4th in last years Giro d’Italia. While Bart DeClerc has been quietly climbing with the best since turning pro in 2011. It could be one of these two who could end up champion as in 2012 Michael Albasini pulled off a similar feat.
Stage 2 looks to be another a difficult course which should promote an aggressive race. Look for a sprinter who can climb (Luca Metzga of Giant fits this best) to stand on top of the podium in Olot. Stay tuned for a write up on tomorrows stage and don’t forget to subscribe
Highlights: Being able to get so close to the riders at the finish.
Lowlights: Getting so close to the riders at the finish and forgetting to switch by camera to “sport” mode. 😉
People always rate their travel experiences by what went wrong. Well my flight was delayed, I missed my connection, the airline lost my luggage and I left a “personal item,” in the seat pocket in front of me AGAIN. Unfortunately for you, many of these things are bound to happen and outside the limits of your control. You’re really just… Read more →