Volta Ciclista a Catalunya – Shock – break stays clear!


Stef Clement (Belkin), part of the day’s break, won the sixth stage of the Volta a Catalunya after a vicious attack in the final kilometres.

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Volta Ciclista a Catalunya – Shock – break stays clear!

Stage 6, with strong winds which some riders have said were too dangerous to be racing in, was over 164km and nine riders went clear during the first hour. The fairly easy stage in terms of terrain was however hardened by severe crosswind sections.

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya stage 6_01

Photo: Jon Herranz (voltacatalunya.cat) 

Giant-Shimano had been expected to lead the chase as the long, fast run in looked tailor-made for a sprint finish, and their rider Luka Mezgec had been chasing a fourth stage win.

But with little help coming their way – and the likes of Jen Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar) toiling away in the break – the nine riders who stayed clear and Clement picked his moment perfectly to seal his first success of the season.

“I don’t win many races, so this is great. The fact that this is a WorldTour race makes it extra special,” said Clement. “I’m going to enjoy this to the fullest. This victory is a nice reward for the team.”

“We’ve had some bad luck as Wilco dropped out of the top ten after a crash, but we have shown resilience and were in every break in the last few days. This win makes up for all the bad luck. I really feel that the guys are happy for me.”

Clement received compliments from his fellow escapees right after the race. “They all came up to me to congratulate me and they said that I had just been the strongest today. In the last few kilometres, it was a kind of a game, though it wasn’t only wisdom. Just being strong can take you a long way. Because I don’t often get in this position, I felt some pressure, but fortunately everything fell into place.”

Mountain jersey
Clement celebrated his victory in the red mountain jersey. In the break, he gained some more points and strengthened his lead in the classification. The Dutchman, however, knows that a tough final day awaits him tomorrow. “It would be foolish not to fight for the jersey as today I had to work hard for the points, it took a lot of power. But, honestly, I haven’t really thought about it just yet. First, I want to enjoy this victory!”

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya stage 6_02

Stef Clement (Belkin). Photo: Jon Herranz (voltacatalunya.cat) 

Veteran stays away in break – Jens Voigt

The ever popular Jens Voigt at 42 said afterwards “It was a good group of solid riders, no superstars, just determined guys that shared the work nicely. We had to, because there were several teams chasing – Movistar, Garmin, Giant, and Lampre. We had to all keep plowing ahead to stay out there.”

“I was pretty sure at 25K to go and we still had almost three minutes that we would make it. At 10k to go we had 1:30 and I knew I had to attack. But I did not want to go on the downhill so around 9k to go I thought I saw a good spot. I was feeling okay, but still not in my best shape. I thought to myself that even though I was feeling tired and limited, nobody else was attacking, so they must be as tired as I am, so let’s give it a go”.

“You don’t want to wait for a sprint. I opened up the attacking, and the poker game: who’s going to chase who?”

“It was almost a sprint as everyone chased everyone down,” continued Voigt. “Then Clement went with 1.5k to go. I think he was the strongest of the group, he had been following some attacks, but never attacked until the end. He saved his one good attack for that moment.”

“I am happy with fourth, probably more so for my shape than the result. I am still not the Jens that I can be, but I am working towards that. It’s a sign of life – of reaching my normal shape – so the team can count on me to do the work. Today was confirmation that I am on the right track.”

Chris Froome
Froome played down his chances of success when the race culminates on an undulating circuit in the heart of Barcelona on Sunday. He said: “I think a lot of it depends on what the weather’s going to be like on Sunday – if we manage to stay dry or if it’s going to be another nervous, slippery day in the peloton.”

“With it being the last stage with circuits around Barcelona, I think a lot of guys will be looking to finish the race off in style, and in terms of GC, it’s still really close. There’s only 18 seconds between the top seven riders so it’s going to be a big battle for GC and I wouldn’t want to be in Purito’s position right now having to defend the jersey.”

“Alberto Contador will no-doubt try everything he can to take the jersey, but I’m just going to be happy to finish off a good week of racing. I know where I am with my condition now. It’s nice to fight for the victory but I’m not on the level of the other guys just yet, and the punchy circuit doesn’t suit me.”

“It suits Purito [Rodriguez] and Contador far more than it does me but I’m really happy with the feelings and sensations I’ve had this week. We have one day to go now and I feel a lot better now than I did at the start of the race.”

Alberto Contador
“Purito knows tomorrow’s circuit very well and we have to pay attention to the weather conditions as rain and wind can make the race very difficult. As said before, the race isn’t over until the final finish line is crossed but gaining 4 seconds can still be hard to achieve against a rider like Purito”.

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya – Shock – break stays clear!

Stage 6
1 CLEMENT Stef Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 03:58:44
2 MOLARD Rudy Cofidis, Solutions Crédits 00:03
3 SERRY Pieter Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4 VOIGT Jens Trek Factory Racing
5 RUTKIEWICZ Marek CCC Polsat Polkowice
6 PIEDRA PEREZ Antonio Caja Rural – Seguros RGA
7 ROLLAND Pierre Team Europcar
8 HOWSON Damien Orica GreenEDGE
9 SIJMENS Nico Wanty – Groupe Gobert 00:09
10 VAN DER SANDE Tosh Lotto Belisol 00:55

22 YATES Adam Orica GreenEDGE
25 QUINTANA Nairo Movistar Team
31 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC Racing Team
34 RODRIGUEZ Joaquim Team Katusha
35 FROOME Christopher Team Sky
36 CONTADOR Alberto Tinkoff-Saxo
65 SáNCHEZ Samuel BMC Racing Team
72 HESJEDAL Ryder Garmin Sharp
96 MARTIN Daniel Garmin Sharp
102 SANCHEZ Luis Leon Caja Rural – Seguros RGA
108 DE GENDT Thomas Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
146 VOECKLER Thomas Team Europcar 11.13

1 RODRIGUEZ Joaquim Team Katusha 27:03:13
2 CONTADOR Alberto Tinkoff-Saxo 00:04
3 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC Racing Team 00:07
4 BARDET Romain AG2R La Mondiale 00:10
5 QUINTANA Nairo Movistar Team
6 FROOME Christopher Team Sky 00:17
7 TALANSKY Andrew Garmin Sharp 00:18
8 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale 00:26
9 BARGUIL Warren Team Giant-Shimano 00:42
10 KISERLOVSKI Robert Trek Factory Racing 00:48

17 HESJEDAL Ryder Garmin Sharp 01:26
19 MARTIN Daniel Garmin Sharp 01:49
25 YATES Adam Orica GreenEDGE 03:00


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