Volta a Catalunya (st. 1)
Movistar Team completes opening day always at front of the bunch, with good work from Anacona, Erviti, Pedrero and Rojas for the Blues’ three GC contenders. Hodeg (QST) claims win in first bunch sprint.
Colombian Álvaro Hodeg (QST) took the win on Monday’s sprint finish in the first stage of the 98th Volta a Catalunya, a rolling loop (152km) around Calella with the only rated climb of Collsacreu (Cat-3).
The Movistar Team completed the first of two days leading up to the mountains with full focus and determination. Anacona, Erviti, Rojas and Pedrero perfectly covered the Blues’ three GC contenders this week. Marc Soler, Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana stayed away from all troubles and always kept the front, also at the technical final descent to the coast.
Valverde, following the sprinters’ wheels, took a decent 8th place at the finish, with no significant time gaps across the line. Tuesday will see the Volta finishing in Valls -hometown of the late Xavi Tondo- after 175km with a tricky finish up and down Lilla (Cat-3), just 10km from the end.
“We got safely through this first day, which was the only important thing today, and we hope that weather doesn’t end up as bad as it looks during the week, so we can cover the race without any more troubles,” explained Quintana after the finish. “This is my first race of the season in Europe – even if I don’t rule myself out of contention, I feel like Alejandro should be in better condition to chase the win. We’re three riders with a good chance for the GC, as well both of us as Marc, and that gives us good opportunities.”
Picture 2 (c): Luis Ángel Gómez / Photo Gomez Sport