Stage 5 of the Vuelta Pais Vasco was a nasty one. It went from Eibar to Aia and was 155km long. With nine categorized climbs, including three leg breaking ascents up Aia with gradients reaching as steep as 28%. The race got off to an exciting start with a massive breakaway getting away. The attacks kept coming and the… Read more →
Stage 3 Vitoria-Gasteiz to Zumarraga was 107km long and was considered the first “mountain stage.” It included climbs over the Azazeta (cat 2), Iturrieta (cat 1), Urbasa (cat 1), Urkilaga (cat 2), Gabiria (cat 3), Antigua (cat 3, twice), Atagoiti (cat 3) and the Antiguako (cat 2). A breakaway of four riders set off with Hugh Carthy and Omar… Read more →
Stage 7, The final Stage of Volt Catalunya, was anything but a ride into Barcelona. With 9 categorized climbs, including 8 trips up the infamous Montjuic, it was yet another brutal stage on the weary peloton.
The first hour of racing covered 51 kilometers as every rider wanted to try for the breakaway. Movistar showed their intent of the stage win and overall win for Valverde and kept the race together until the first sprint. Valverde finished second in the sprint and inched another 2 seconds closer to the Volta title.
Finally a break formed of David Arroyo (Caja Rural), Walter Pedraza (Columbia), and Mark Rutkiewicz (CCC Sprandi Polkowice). Behind Movistar kept a short lease on them and never left them gain more than 1:30. When the peloton arrived on the Mpntjuic circuit Movistar upped the pace, reducing the peloton as well as softening the riders up for the final.
The break was then absorbed and with two laps to go Dan Martin (Cannondale- Garmin) showed his cards and threw a vicious attack. He was reeled in and then was countered by Valverde on the final accent of Montjuic.Sky brought him back, but on the steep kicker with 3 k to go Dan Martin hit them once again. Go under the 1 k to go banner Martin held a slight advantage and looked like the victor, but the green bullet Valverde came screaming past in the last 200 meters for the stage victory. It was his third victory of the week and showed that he was the strongest rider of the Volta. Losing 22 seconds on stage 3, Valverde got back to within 4 seconds of the overall winner Richie Porte of Sky making for yet again another nail biter in the 2015 edition.
Final General Classification
AUS 1 PORTE, Richie (SKY) 30:30:30
ESP 2 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 4
ITA 3 POZZOVIVO, Domenico (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 5
ESP 4 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 7
COL 5 URAN URAN, Rigoberto (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 18
ITA 6 ARU, Fabio (ASTANA) + 27
COL 7 ATAPUMA HURTADO, Darwin (BMC RACING) + 33
ESP 8 VALLS FERRI, Rafael (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 1:35
IRL 9 MARTIN, Daniel (CANNONDALE – GARMIN)
COL 10 PANTANO, Jarlinson (IAM CYCLING) + 2:16
What I learned:
1. Do not let a breakaway get 2:40 on the first day.
2. Good guys get dropped too.
3. Toll roads are expensive.
5. You can survive on Cappuccino’s and chips.
6. You can go over the guardrail one day and win the stage the next
7. I REALLY need to learn how to drive a stick shift.
8. I REALLY need to learn how to speak catalan.
9. Google translate is a beautiful thing.
10. Tommy looks good in red.
Well that was a pretty insane week. This was the first time I’ve ever attempted to write or report on cycling. I really had to involve myself in the entire race, every stage, from start to finish. I was racing up climbs to get the perfect shot, acting like I didn’t know better when they would kick me out of the press area, calling my “inside source” to ask him what REALLY happened when so-and-so crashed and of course attempting to translate Volta Catalunya’s tweets. But seeing all the awesome feedback I received from you guys really made it worth while. I know I still have a lot to learn about cycling and blogging in general, but I feel myself improving each time I open the computer.
thank you for the love,
Stage 6 the break away succeeded in todays stage of Volta Catalunya. The attacks started from the very beginning with every rider sensing opportunity. The combination of the climb at the start and a strong crosswind enabled a group of 22 to break clear.
Steven Kruijswijk was the closest on GC at 4 minutes down so the breakaway was given a short leash. Sky did most of the pace making in the peloton and did not allow the gap to be over 2 minutes for most of the day. On the last climb, with 30 kilometers to go, Tom Danielson and Teejay Van Garderen attacked reducing the group to 12. The attacks continued throughout the final but no rider was able to get clear. The race ended with a sprint of the twelve riders and Russian rider Sergei Chernetski (Katusha) came out on top.
Richie Porte maintained the overall race lead with 5 seconds over Pozzovivo (Ag2r) and 7 seconds over Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) who crashed in a roundabout with 3k to go but did not lose time.
Stage 7 Starting and finishing in Barcelona the riders will tackle a short 126km. They riders will go over the famous Montjuic climb and with an 8 lap 6.4km finishing circuit in the Montjuic park.
I have been looking forward to tomorrow’s stage in Barcelona all week long. So be on the look out for lots of photos and videos. I mean a circuit race around a castle. Not a whole lot better spectating then that. Really hoping it lives up to all the expectations in my head. Do you ever do that? Build something up so big that there’s no possible way it can be as awesome as you imagine. Yeah, me too. But any who, as always, I am open for suggestions. Tell me what YOU want to see.
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 →