Volta a Catalunya (st. 2)
Movistar Team wins Volta a Catalunya TTT in Banyoles after sensational performance from all its eight riders, now on top of the GC with Alejandro Valverde
A magnificent ride rewarded the whole Movistar Team with their 10th success of the 2017 season on stage two of the Volta a Catalunya, a 41km TTT in Banyoles where the squad directed by José Luis Arrieta and José Luis Laguía narrowly edged out World champions BMC after the latter clocked a time impossible to beat for their rivals.
The telephone squad was the only one able to compete against the American team, initially putting eight seconds on the red formation after 21km in. The Blues resisted into a demanding second half, as Alejandro Valverde, Amador, Castroviejo, Soler, Fernández, Oliveira, Erviti and José Joaquín Rojas reached the line together to claim the leader's jersey. The Blues' effort allows Valverde putting 46 seconds on Chris Froome (SKY) and 1'15" on Alberto Contador (TFS), the main contenders for an overall classification surely hard-fought all the way to Barcelona on Sunday.
The Movistar Team will defend its coveted position on Wednesday at a demanding stage three, the first of two mountain-top finishes in the Volta towards La Molina (Cat-1). A first passage through the last climb will be tackled 25km from the finish, riders up for a demanding course with 4,300m vertical gain in 188km.
Alejandro Valverde: “It was a very tough time trial. We knew it would be hard, because we had ridden it five times during the last few days. It was a technical one, and knowing the course well ended up being key. We feared a bit the rain, because it would have made for a dangerous course, but we were lucky in the end and we got through it safe.
"We must go day-by-day, yet we put a very important gap on strong rivals today. It will be very difficult tomorrow, and I'm worried about bad weather again – let's hope we can stay dry all week. My legs have been feeling good over the last few days, despite not having raced anything since Andalucía, so I hope I can keep the jersey. Obviously, though, having Contador or Froome contesting it will make for a difficult defense."
Picture ©: Photo Gomez Sport