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,