Tour of Catalunya: Top 10 for Martin & Wiggins on stage 1


Daniel Martin was 4th and Bradley Wiggins 6th on stage 1 of the World Tour stage race, Tour of Catalunya with Team Sky looking to win yet another Tour

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The day though belonged to Quickstep.

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Gianni Meersman bided his time perfectly at the back of a select group, which gained a quick gap on the descent of Alt de Collsacreau (Category 3) inside the final 25km. Meersman sat near the back of the group, which included strong riders such as Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky Pro Cycling), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Robert Gesink (Blanco Pro Cycling Team) and others as their gap quickly opened up to 28″ inside 10km.

2013 Catalunya Stage 1 win Meersman TimDe Waele


 Gianni Meersman. Photo Tim de Waele/OPQS

As the group continued to ride a high pace, it looked like the bunch sprint hopes of many would be thwarted. Meersman waited inside the final km still near the back, and launched from a distance up the right side of the group. Meersman held on to take the 16th win for OPQS, in three disciplines, in 2013. Valerio Agnoli (Astana) was 2nd, Valverde was 3rd.

Video of the Finale

The select group attacked on the descent of the final climb after the peloton had caught a duo (Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Cristiano Salerno (Cannondale)) that attacked early in the stage. “I’m pleased with the victory,” Meersman said. “Volta Ciclista a Catalunya was one of my objectives. I want to do well in this race. During the race we passed through the finish line, so I knew the final climb and the descent. I knew the descent was a technical one and I needed to stay near the front.”

“I did a good job on the descent and then in the final, when I arrived at the sprint I was in the last position. I wanted no one to surprise me. So, I launched the sprint very, very early — several hundred meters from the finish. After that, I didn’t think of anything but pulling and trying to do my best. I won and that’s fantastic, specially considering the names at the front.”

“I was forced to abandon Paris-Nice and was a little disappointed because I knew my condition was there, but I wasn’t able to show it. So, I stayed two days at home and then went to Calpe to train with Dries Devenyns and Pieter Serry. We did good work together and today, all the hard work paid off. Sometimes in cycling you have to be a little bit lucky and also have the good condition to do the right thing.”

“I also want to thank the team,” Meersman continued. “They were unbelievable today. Especially Julien Vermote and Carlos Verona. They started pulling from the beginning and if they hadn’t done this, we would not have caught the break. So, they did a great job. This morning in our team briefing Rik Van Slycke said the day would either be for me or Andy Fenn. So, it was my day and I am so happy. Tomorrow is another stage for riders with my skills. This is the 8th victory of my career, but the quality of this win is also important. This year the goal was to be good in WorldTour races, and more consistent throughout the season. I want to be more of a presence in the peloton, so this was a good start.”

2013 Catalunya Stage 1 podium Meersman TimDe Waele

 Gianni Meersman. Photo Tim de Waele/OPQS

Bradley Wiggins made his intentions in the race clear as he and Team Sky split the peloton with an attacking finish to stage one. The Tour de France winner lit the blue touch paper on the final descent of the day as he pushed onwards, causing a significant split in the bunch as 13 riders headed into Calella.

As the stage wore on, a number of teams were willing to help on the front, but with the break caught and 25km to go it was Team Sky who seized the initiative on the final pass over the Collsacreu to set the pace and keep a lid on attacks. Young Brit Josh Edmondson set the tempo initially to line things out with Pete Kennaugh, Danny Pate, López and Cataldo all present to rally around a motivated Wiggins. Over the summit Wiggins pushed on and with a call to arms to the riders around him the Brit plummeted onto the descent to cause panic in the group behind and an intriguing finish to day one.

Stage 1
1. MEERSMAN Gianni Omega Pharma – Quick-Step3:55:56
2. AGNOLI Valerio Astana Pro Team
3. VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro Movistar Team
4. MARTIN Daniel Garmin – Sharp
5. WYSS Danilo BMC Racing Team
6. WIGGINS Bradley Sky Procycling
7. GESINK Robert Blanco Pro Cycling Team
8. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team
9. SCARPONI Michele Lampre – Merida
10. LOPEZ GARCIA David Sky Procycling

17. FENN Andrew Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ 28 seconds
115. KENNAUGH Peter Sky Procycling ,,
143. EDMONDSON Joshua Sky Procycling ,,
149. CUMMINGS Stephen BMC Racing Team ,,


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