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Mellow Velo

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99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
« on: March 21, 2019, 12:02 »
99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

The 2019 Volta a Catalunya is played out from Monday 25 March to Sunday the 31st. With summit finishes in Vallter 2000 and La Molina the third and fourth day of action are probably going to be decisive in terms of the GC. A number of hilly races and opportunities for sprinters round out the route. The Volta a Catalunya does not include a time trial, which is nothing new.



Stage 1:    Monday 25th    Calella – Calella    164kms

The 1st stage of the Volta a Catalunya is an out-and-back race in Calella since 2012. Mostly running on hilly terrain, still the race often boils down to a sprint finish. The race takes in five intermediate climbs, three of the category 1.

Stage 2:    Tuesday 26th    Mataró – Sant Feliu de Guíxols    179.6kms

The 2nd stage travels from Mataró to Sant Feliu de Guíxols. Three moderate climbs underway, so a sprint finish is a likely scenario.

Stage 3:    Wednesday 27th    Sant Feliu de Guíxols – Vallter 2000    179kms

More high mountains in the 4th stage, as the Volta a Catalunya takes in its traditional summit finish in La Molina.
The final haul up is 9 kilometres at 6% and when the riders move through La Molina the route continues with a short drop and a 2 kilometres climb to the line.

Stage 5:    Friday 29th    Puigcerdà – Sant Cugat del Vallès    188.1kms

Stage 5 starts at an elevation of 1,120 metres in the Pyrenees and includes a huge climb straight after the start. A long descent then runs to an undulating second part of the race. The finish is in Cugat del Vallès, a suburb of Barcelona.

Stage 6:    Saturday 30th    Valls – Vila-seca    174.3kms

The 6th stage goes from Valls to another likely sprint finish in Vila-seca.

Stage 7:    Sunday 31st    Barcelona – Barcelona    143.1kms
   
Traditionally the Volta a Catalunya concludes with a circuit race in Barcelona, that revolves around Alto de Montjuïc. Eight laps with two slopes – 2 kilometres at 5.7% and 700 metres at 6%

Previous winners
2018 | VALVERDE Alejandro  *es
2017 | VALVERDE Alejandro  *es
2016 | QUINTANA Nairo  *co
2015 | PORTE Richie  *au
2014 | RODRÍGUEZ Joaquim  *es
2013 | MARTIN Dan  *ie
2012 | ALBASINI Michael  *ch
2011 | SCARPONI Michele  *it
2010 | RODRÍGUEZ Joaquim  *es
2009 | VALVERDE Alejandro  *es

Currently, it's big hard to call the favourites, as there are rather a lot of gaps on the startlist.
However, from what we have so far and recent results.........

Favourites 2019 Volta a Catalunya

:*:*:*:*:* Simon Yates  #mitchelton, Enric Mas  #deceuninck, Miguel Ángel López  #astana, Egan Bernal  #sky
:*:*:*:* Adam Yates  #mitchelton, Romain Bardet  #ag2r, Thibaut Pinot  #groupama, Alejandro Valverde  #movistar
:*:*:*  Daniel Martin  #uae, Chris Froome  #sky, Steven Kruijswijk  #jumbo
:*:* Richie Porte  #trek, Marc Soler  #movistar, Wilco Kelderman  #sunweb
:*  Ilnur Zakarin  #katusha, Fabio Aru  #uae, David Gaudu  #groupama
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  • « Last Edit: March 21, 2019, 15:31 by Mellow Velo »
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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #1 on: March 21, 2019, 12:38 »
    the stage 2 finish is uphill, 600m at ~5%. The other sprints could be a bit too easy for him, but overall this looks like a good parcours for #rainbow Valverde to keep his record of 2-3 wins per edition ;)

    Vallter 2000 is probably not exactly his type of climb, but with the bonus seconds, that could be enough to take the overall
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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #2 on: March 24, 2019, 08:32 »
    Stage 1:    Monday 25th    Calella – Calella    164kms

    The 1st stage of the Volta a Catalunya is an out-and-back race in Calella since 2012. Mostly running on hilly terrain, still the race often boils down to a sprint finish. The race takes in five intermediate climbs, three of the category 1.

    so, after the easy start last year, they are going back to the usual kind of opening stage.

    Normally there are only something like 20-30 guys getting dropped nonetheless, but Hodeg and Bauhaus could be among them, I guess, which doesn not leave us with many sprinters left. But in Catalunya we've had guys like Julien Simon, Mezgec and Impey dominating the sprints in the past, let's see who it is this year...
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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #3 on: March 25, 2019, 09:23 »
    I haven't checked every Spanish rider on the list, but seems like with Jordi Simon not around anymore #movistar Marc Soler is the only one competing for the "Best Catalan" competition this year?! :P
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #4 on: March 25, 2019, 21:48 »
    Well, it's been quite a wait for the results of stage 1 to get sorted. All sorts of confusion, not helped by some of the unusual suspects who got involved in the sprint for the bottom rung of the podium.
    Today turned out to be one of those "special" Thomas de Gendt days when everybody knows that it doesn't matter how hard he's chased, he just isn't going to be caught. So much so, that Max Schachmann stole a march on the beaten bunch, to solo off the front and take second.

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #5 on: March 26, 2019, 07:42 »
    When Albasini won the opening stage from a breakaway a couple of years ago, he just went on and took stage 2 as well (and the overall, but only due to bad weather cancellations). Can de Gendt do the same? :P

    Here's a closer look at today's finish, via @raffilpt:



    looks more like a power sprint. Pretty fast run-in, long finishing straight. ~5-600m at 5% seems to be accurate
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #6 on: March 26, 2019, 19:55 »
    Stage two presented the first opportunity for the puncheurs.
    Early in the day a three-man breakaway pulled clear of the peloton, made up of Josef Černy (CCC Team), Jonas Gwisly (Astana) and Marco Minnaard (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). The gap to the breakaway extended to seven minutes in the opening half of the stage, but the peloton were reluctant for a repeat of the first stage and wound the escapees back in.
    The final climb Alt de Romanyà, 5.8km-long at 4.5 per cent, came 30km from the finish with a long descent followed by a few minor hills. Chris Froome and two Bora-Hansgrohe riders were involved in a crash, with Froome forced to wait for a bike change. Astana drove the pace at the front. There were a number of attacks on the final circuit and penultimate climb, with Max Schachmann prominent.
     Mitchelton-Scott opened up their lead-out first, but Matthews sat second wheel on the long uphill drag to the line, finally coming out of cover 100 metres from the line and sprinting clear of Alejandro Valverde to take the win.

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  • t-72

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #7 on: March 26, 2019, 22:55 »
    Off the top of my head, I think this was #wanty Odd Christian Eiking´s best result in a WT race.  :cool
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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #8 on: March 27, 2019, 18:44 »
     Adam Yates triumphed in a tense summit finish on stage three of the Volta a Catalunya.

    An early breakaway of 11 riders set the tone, building up at five-minute advantage in the opening 30km.

    The move consisted of Dries Devenyns (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Francois Bidard (Ag2r La Mondiale),  Óscar Cabedo (Burgos-BH), Sergio Samitier (Euskadi-Murias), Bart De Clercq (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Maurits Lammertink, Pieter Weening (Roompot-Charles), Lennard Kämna (Sunweb), Anthony Delaplace (Arkéa-Samsic), Bert-Jan Lindeman (Jumbo-Visma) and Álvaro Cuadros (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), all working well together but the peloton held them to five minutes.
     The peloton hit the final climb with a 90-second gap to the remains of the escape, which was whittled down until only Weening was able to press on alone, with Sky now driving the rapidly dwindling bunch.
     When last man, Ivan Sosa, was done, opened up his attacked at 5.3km, with his compatriot Quintana the only man able to follow.
     Adam Yates also upped the pace and slowly made it across to the uncooperative Colombian duo, reaching them at the 4km mark. Miguel Ángel López (Astana) and Martin were able to rejoin the front of the race, as Quintana continue to sit on, refusing to come through. Mystifying, as the Colombian would be very long odds to take this sprint and so it proved.
     Martin was the first to open with 200 metres to the line, but everyone was able to follow and Yates passed him in the final turn to take the stage victory.

    De Gendt rode brilliantly to cross the line 2-20 down on the stage winner, immediately behind Alejandro Valverde.

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #9 on: March 27, 2019, 18:50 »
    48th PORTE Richie +7:06
    148th FROOME Chris +26:55
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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #10 on: March 27, 2019, 19:16 »
    any idea what to expect for la Molina tomorrow? Last year's stage was great, but with most of the big teams still having one guy in striking distance for the overall (probably unwilling to risk that position), I'd think the usual "sprint" looks more likely?!
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  • t-72

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #11 on: March 27, 2019, 21:46 »
    48th PORTE Richie +7:06
    148th FROOME Chris +26:55

    Didn't notice Porte, but Froome seemed to be 1) in training mode 2) suffering from crash on the previous stage

    The commentaries have been making some statements about #sky Sky's top racers looking more off the pace at this time of year than usual this year. The guy not racing here (Thomas) is the one that is mentioned most frequently in this context, they openly question if he'll get ready in time for Tour de France this year. They comment less on the fact that Froome doesn't look very good either. Whatever they are doing, it is quite different from approx five years ago when they started winning Paris-Nice and then flashed every single stage race from there to the Tour de France win.
     
    In fact, the only Sky captain that looks like a Sky captain from 5 years ago at this point is Bernal - he is in shape, and he has won the Paris-Nice. However, today he tried to unleash a physiological superiority that just wasn't there. Not sure I get what they were up to with spending all the domestiques before the 5 km mark, if it wasn't exactly the missing Froome that should have done another km or two. I am somehow happy with the performance because it wasn't anything that will make the GC race in the Giro as uninteresting as the TDF has been for the last few years.

    Adding to them sky-train attack that didn't work as planned today, Bernal isn't as experienced as Froome and Thomas are. In a 3-week race he can still end up like Simon Yates did last year, and Simon Yates may not repeat his mistakes. I really doubt Bernal can do anything like Froome did last year. He needs more age and treachery for that.
     
    As for the TDF, by now the results looks like less of a given than in any of the preceding 7 years (no-one had Nibali as a favorite, yet he won by the largest margin - so the exception was exceptional) - and maybe that's about time, but who's really going to challenge them - Nibali one more time? Adam Yates?  Quintana? Bardet? Seems like many could-have-been candidates are targeting the Giro instead.
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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #12 on: March 28, 2019, 06:59 »
    An enormous amount of people frustrated by Quintana #movistar tactics yesterday, apparently (follow through the link to the pages long twitter coversation). It seems like noen of them watched stages when Quintana attacked early on the final climb, like Blockhaus in the giro 2 years ago and Arosa in the giro last year.

    He is a patient guy though.

    https://twitter.com/daniellloyd1/status/1110940325906968576

    Edit: something wrong with the link i Get from Twitter today. On iPad. Can someone find the right link?
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  • « Last Edit: March 29, 2019, 21:18 by LukasCPH, Reason: deleted "?=21" from tweet »

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #13 on: March 28, 2019, 07:10 »
    I guess it's because of the "?s=21" at the end. Just delete that part, and it should be fine.

    And I really don't know what to think about it, or if he did not want to help Bernal, or just wasn't able to. Quintana has a very smooth riding style, so, as someone on CN mentioned, you can't really see how much he suffers. People would probably talk differently about Dan Martin hanging on Bernal's wheel.

    On the other hand, Ryo always used to talk about the big rivalries between the different parts of Colombia, and riders who under no circumstances would work with others, just because they don't want them to win. I don't know if this is the case for Bernal and Quintana though.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #14 on: March 28, 2019, 07:58 »
     I don't think Bernal is in anything other than great shape, it's just that Quintana, as we have seen since Colombia, is also in super shape. Were he not, he too would have been dropped by Bernal's initial attack and that, as they say would probably have been that.

    Dan Lloyd in that tweet made the exact same observation as I did, elsewhere.
    Old Stone Face sure is an enigma, when it comes to picking his moments.
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  • Joelsim

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #15 on: March 28, 2019, 10:54 »
    I'm sure that Quintana would've attacked if he'd not been on the limit.
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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #16 on: March 28, 2019, 18:38 »
    A nice ride from young Sooooooooooperman Looooooopez! No one could stay with him.

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #17 on: March 28, 2019, 19:52 »
    A nice ride from young Sooooooooooperman Looooooopez! No one could stay with him.

    I think I will rename him to Highwayman, because he seems to need at least a two-lane ski station access road to ride comfortably up a mountain. Today's stage reminded me very much about the Sierra Nevada stage in the Giro two years ago (to Hoya de la Mora). It is like something's holding him back on a snaking narrow singlelane like up to Wallter yesterday! I guess the real cause can be the combination of his preference for grinding really heavy gears for his body size and the steepness of the road which works against him on really steep stuff (and smaller roads are often steeper at least in some sections compared to the well-engineered ski station access roads that seems to be his favorite).

    Also a very good ride by #wanty Guillaume Martin today, #jumbo Kruijswijk also seems on his way to do what he does best now, quietly slipping away from the big chase group today.  Is he heading for the Giro this year?

    #movistar Soler isn't as bad as he seemed to be this year, but then what about the movistar tactics today? Couldn't he have contributed more for Quintana? :slow

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #18 on: March 28, 2019, 20:09 »
    #movistar Soler isn't as bad as he seemed to be this year, but then what about the movistar tactics today? Couldn't he have contributed more for Quintana? :slow

    it's his home race, so I'd think giving him the chance to get a stage win is actually the better choice than helping Quintana to finish 3rd in GC

    edit: having Lopez in the lead could spice up the race quite nicely by the way, as he is probably the most vulnerable guy (from the top 4) in the Motjuic stage.
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  • Joelsim

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #19 on: March 28, 2019, 20:28 »
    I think you’re right about López. He seems to ride better on a lower gradient, he can almost TT on it, when it’s a bit steeper he’s nowhere near as punchy.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #20 on: March 28, 2019, 20:53 »
    edit: having Lopez in the lead could spice up the race quite nicely by the way, as he is probably the most vulnerable guy (from the top 4) in the Motjuic stage.

     I was thinking the same way, earlier. Reckon the final stage could be a doozy.
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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #21 on: March 28, 2019, 21:20 »
    One more thought,  #sky Egan Bernal seems to fade a little every day from the start of Paris-Nice. This could be part of a plan if it involves sufficient restitution, but he is younger than the previous generation of Sky captains and even if he is damned good he can't necessarily take the same volume of hard training + races as they did much higher up in their 20's. The loss of the race-winning punch is a classical sign of too much hard training and racing.

    There are quite a few examples of huge talents never delivering on promises because the long-term development plan is sacrificed on the altar of possible short-term successes (which again is driven by short contract lengths). #didata Lois Meintjes was one of his generations most promising riders and everything looked great for him in his first years in the World Tour, but compare his trajectory with that of #bahrain Mohoric who was the one guy to beat Meintjes in the U23 worlds....then played second if not third fiddle for a few years ... but look, now he can seriously compete at any level while Meintjes is a ghost at back end of the peloton.

    With the 5-year contract, I can't see Sky has any excuses for overtraining/overracing the still young Bernal, but he's beginning to show some classical symptoms already early in the season. Edvald Boasson Hagen was also a really large talent with Sky,  and he lost all his sting in a couple of years with them (even if, admittedly, his role was different).  Bernal could go the same way.   
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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #22 on: March 29, 2019, 21:16 »
     With the mountains done and dusted, this stage appeared to be sideshow to the more prestigious E3 in Belgium.
    Nevertheless, it still delivered an action packed finale.
     Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) achieved what seemed like an impossible solo success to win stage five of the Volta a Catalunya, dropping his breakaway companions and holding an agonising 20 second lead into the final kilometres.
     Michael Matthews (Sunweb) brought the peloton home, 13 seconds behind the leader, with Ryan Gibbons (Dimension Data) third and Astana’s Miguel Ángel López maintaining his lead in the general classification.
     The only dampener on the day being the injury to Wilco Keldermann, which sees him sidelined for the Giro*
    (*source: Joel)

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #23 on: March 29, 2019, 21:32 »
    The only dampener on the day being the injury to Wilco Keldermann, which sees him sidelined for the Giro

    ...while #sky Egan Bernal, who was involved in a little colision on the finishing straight, was more fortunate ;)


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    « Last Edit: March 31, 2019, 09:44 by LukasCPH »

    Mellow Velo

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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #25 on: March 31, 2019, 08:43 »
    Michael Matthews (Sunweb) defeated Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Merida) in a photo finish to win stage six of the Volta a Catalunya. Miguel Ángel López (Astana) maintained his overall lead, and even threatened to extend his advantage during an unexpected late flurry of action among some of the GC contenders. Although generally a calm day, there were a few crashes of note. One 15km from the line involved Simon Yates but thankfully the Mitchelton-Scott rider was able to remount and bridge back within 5km.

    The Volta a Catalunya concludes tomorrow with the usual circuit around Barcelona, which features enough climbing to potentially provoke changes in the GC. Especially as the weather forecast is for rain on those slick, city streets.


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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #26 on: March 31, 2019, 09:38 »
    with the early start (in 10 minutes - live coverage starts at half past 11 already, by the way) there seems to be a chance that they'll stay dry. But usually the Montjuic circuit produces great racing in good weather as well :cool
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    Re: 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    « Reply #27 on: March 31, 2019, 16:12 »
    Miguel Ángel López  #astana managed to seal overall victory at the 2019 Volta a Catalunya, despite being put under serious pressure by several of his major GC rivals.
     Nairo Quintana  #movistar, Egan Bernal  #sky and Adam Yates #mitchelton all attempted attacks at some point during the stage, forcing López to have to dig deep in order to defend his jersey, with Yates, at one point, virtual leader on the road.
     Meanwhile, up ahead Davide Formolo  #bora sealed a spectacular stage victory. Having been part of the day’s original ten-man break, the Italian went solo almost 40km from the finish, and despite the ferocious pace being set behind by the GC contenders, managed to hold on, making it two breakaway wins in three days for Bora-Hansgrohe.



     A big crash occurred in the peloton during the second lap, with some major casualties. Romain Bardet  #ag2r had to retire with what appeared to be a broken collarbone, Warren Barguil  #arkea was seen being carried away without the support of his legs, and Simon Geschke  #ccc was sent to hospital for x-rays.
     Despite all the drama, all four riders ultimately crossed the finish line together, meaning the top of the general classification remained the same, with López, Yates and Bernal making the podium places.

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