Tour of Catalunya: Simon Gerrans Sling Shots to Victory in Valls


Aussie Simon Gerrans shot out of the final corner to rocket past his rival sprinters to clinch victory on stage six of Volta a Catalunya. Dan Martin continues to lead and Wiggins is still in 4th overall. 

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Taking his second win of the season, the 11th for ORICA-GreenEDGE, Gerrans was part of a 40-strong group that formed over the slopes of the second category Alt de Lilla.


The 178.7km penultimate stage headed back towards the coast with the peloton strung out from early on in the day. The race held together heading into the first intermediate sprint in Alcarras where Martin took three seconds on his rivals. It took well over half the stage for a breakaway to slip up the road.

The peloton finally allowed an eight rider escape group, including neo pro Josh Edmondson to build up a small advantage as the race approached the day’s first of two categorised climbs.

The gap opened out to 2:45 but the steep descent and the run down to the final climb of the Alt de Lilla saw things close back up as AG2R-La Mondiale and BMC Racing looked to bring back the move. With Sky looking after Wiggins, the break indeed did come back but Gerrans hung in there and surprised his rivals with the victory.

“I’m really happy with the stage win,” said Gerrans. “It was a huge team effort today. Trav [Travis Meyer], Christian [Meier], Sam [Bewley] and Wes [Wesley Sulzberger] did a huge amount of work in the first couple of hours to cover the breakaway. They did a really fantastic job. After that, it was just a matter of Brett [Lancaster] and I taking care of our position ahead of the final.”

“The day unfolded pretty much according to plan although the race was a bit faster and harder than we had expected,” noted Gerrans. “The break didn’t establish until 100 kilometres, so it was super fast for the first two or three hours. The team was really good about covering moves until the break went away. They’re just about dead on their feet after such a big effort in the first half of the race.”

Lancaster helped Gerrans position himself on the approach to the second climb. The pace up the slopes of the Alt de Lilla splintered the peloton. “The race split up the last climb,” explained Gerrans. “There was still a little breakaway just up the front. They had maybe 30” or so at this point. We rode quite fast from behind to bring that back.”

Inside the final five kilometres, the peloton had reeled in the break and Gerrans was alone in a select front group charging towards the finish. “In the build-up to the sprint, I positioned myself around the guys that I know are going quite well at the moment,” Gerrans said.

“I was able to keep myself in a good place, and I came through that last left-hander in tenth wheel or so. I was far back, but I knew the guys in front of me were still lead out riders, so I had time to come around them.”

“I kicked quite hard out of the corner,” he continued. “This gave me the opportunity to move up and use my momentum to pop out in the last couple hundred metres. I had the legs to come from behind today. It’s fantastic to get another WorldTour stage win for the team.”

Gerrans wasn’t the only ORICA-GreenEDGE rider to make a podium appearance. Christian Meier snagged both the Points leader jersey and the Tour de France 100 Sprint jersey on the first day of racing and has successfully defended both jerseys through today’s penultimate stage

“Christian is the guy that you can always count on to help out the other riders,” said Gerrans. “He’s a hard worker, and his efforts are almost always for his team. I’m happy to see him get something for himself. It would be a big result for Christian to finish the race tomorrow in either one or both of those sprint jerseys.”

1 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE 3:55:46
2 MEERSMAN Gianni Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3 DUMOULIN Samuel AG2R La Mondiale
4 RATTO Daniele Cannondale Pro Cycling Team
5 WYSS Danilo BMC Racing Team
6 SIMON Julien Sojasun
7 MORENO FERNANDéZ Daniel Katusha Team
8 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team
9 FUGLSANG Jakob Astana Pro Team
10 URAN Rigoberto Sky Procycling

13 MARTIN Daniel Garmin – Sharp
25 WIGGINS Bradley Sky Procycling
29 ROCHE Nicolas Team Saxo-Tinkoff
64 EDMONDSON Joshua Sky Procycling @ 0:36
70 CUMMINGS Stephen BMC Racing Team @ 1.04
125 FENN Andrew Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ 6.15

1. MARTIN Daniel Garmin – Sharp 26:16:22
2. RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team 00:17
3. QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander Movistar Team 00:45
4. WIGGINS Bradley Sky Procycling 00:54
5. SCARPONI Michele Lampre – Merida 00:55
6. GESINK Robert Blanco Pro Cycling Team 01:07
7. NIEMIEC Przemyslaw Lampre – Merida 01:18
8. PINOT Thibaut Equipe Cycliste FDJ 01:26
9. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen Lotto Belisol Team 01:28
10. STETINA Peter Garmin – Sharp 01:30

30. CUMMINGS Stephen BMC Racing Team 06:23


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