Report: Volta Catalunya – Stage 3

Valverde wins his 101st pro race after outsprinting Dan Martin on stage 3 of the Volta Catalunya. Adam Yates 3rd.

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Report: Volta Catalunya – Stage 3

Team Movistar Press Release

After a controversial decision took away the Movistar Team’s victory on Tuesday, the Spanish squad struck back in the best way possible, claiming a fantastic win with Alejandro Valverde on stage three of the Volta a Catalunya, finishing atop the Cat-1 climb of La Molina.


The Spanish rider took his 101st pro success ahead of Dan Martin (QST), who anticipated the man from Murcia’s acceleration with an attack 300m from the line, one that ‘Bala’ overtook without major problems to secure his success.

The Blues’ leader on Catalan soil crowned a nice piece of work from his week, mostly protagonized by Marc Soler. The 23-year-old local launched one of the final attacks that set up the finish for his leader, who now sits back on GC after the one-minute penalty the race jury put on all his team-mates this morning.

Thanks to the 10-second bonus and small splits in the finale, Valverde now ranks 4th overall, 45″ behind race leader Tejay Van Garderen and only four and one, respectively, from second and third-placed Samuel Sanchez and Geraint Thomas, which complete the provisional podium.

Marc Soler retains a magnificent 6th spot and will wear the best young rider’s jersey on stage four, Thursday, a 194km journey down from the Pyrenees, between Llívia and Igualada, with the Cat-2 Turó del Puig ascent just 13 kilometers from the end.

Alejandro Valverde: “It was a very fast start before the break went finally away. The last 50km were also really hard, too. Sky made it harder with a strong pace through the entire finale, but the team kept me protected perfectly and Soler was excellent controlling all moves into the last kilometers.

Part of this victory is his, too. To be honest, I just had to make sure I sprinted properly. When Daniel Martin attacked, I went on his wheel quickly – I knew it would be difficult for him to beat me, because such uphill finishes really suit me well.

“We must continue to ride focusing on one stage at a time – get through Thursday first and then see how we’re feeling for Lo Port, which will be a really steep finish. I prefer not to further talk on what happened yesterday, everyone could see the images. Inwardly, we know we won that stage and we did it fairly. For the time being, our Volta can only be qualified as phenomenal.”
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Van Garderen Take Overall Lead
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya stage 3 ended with the race’s first summit finish, with Tejay van Garderen crossing the line in eighth place to move into the leader’s jersey after an explosive finale on La Molina. Tejay van Garderen: “The team rode amazingly today with the breakaway taking over 60km to establish itself. We were confident heading into today’s stage and, as we have good memories of La Molina, we were pretty sure we could keep the jersey. Yesterday there was a lot of commotion, and we put that behind us and got on with today’s task.”

“It was all up in the air until just before today’s stage when we eventually got the jersey and subsequently the responsibility to control the race. This meant we had to adjust our strategy, but I think we handled this well and showed we are the stronger team.”

“This is a big race. It has a lot of history and carries some weight being UCI WorldTour. We have a comfortable lead, but it’s not a sure thing especially with stage 5 but the team has good morale, and we are motivated to do our best to defend this jersey.”

Adam Yates Third
Tour de France white jersey winner Adam Yates put in a solid performance to finish in third place on the first real mountain test of the race. The 24-year-old put in a strong effort with 400 metres remaining on the steep slopes up to the finish in La Molina but Alejandro Valverde (BMC Racing) and Dan Martin (Quickstep-Floors) jumped past on the final corner to snatch the first two spots.

“In the final part of the race when the other big teams were still not moving, Adam was feeling good so he went,” sport director Neil Stephens explained. “He realised that 400 metres was still quite a long way to go on this climb and then Martin and Valverde, who are both punchy riders sprinted past him in the final moments to take the top places. We are super happy to have him back in good shape and now in to eighth in the general classification.”

Chris Froome: “It was a little bit of a shock to the system,” he said. “It’s the first mountain stage I’ve done at a WorldTour race since the Vuelta last year but it’s good, that’s why I’m here, I’m here to suffer this week – to gain from hard racing and soak it all up. As a team we’re in a good place. We did a strong team time trial yesterday, but we’ve still got quite a bit of time to make up on the BMC guys”.

“It’s all going to come down to Friday’s mountain top finish, which is a really tough climb. G’s looking in great shape and we’ll do everything we can over the next few days to make sure he’s up there.”

Alberto Contador: “I had good sensations, although the stage was relatively calm,” explained Contador. “It is true that in the last two passes over La Molina they made a good rhythm on the climb, but it is not a very demanding climb, and in many places, there was a strong headwind, which made it very comfortable to be in the wheels.”

“At the final, in the sprint, I tried to make a good finish, but I knew it was a complicated one for me. In addition, we did the last kilometers quite calm, and that makes it so that the explosive riders take air and can be faster than me.”

Bauke Mollema and Jarlinson Pantano – who again worked hard on the front – crossed together in 18th and 19th places, 12 seconds after Contador. “The team again was very good, impressive, being around me as always,” said Contador. “With Jarlinson, we wanted to put one more point of intensity, but there was a lot of headwind, and it was quite easy to go on the wheel. In the end, it did punish everyone’s legs a little more, and that is also a goal.”

Stage five on Friday will set off the big fireworks amongst the GC contenders with the monster climb of Lo Port, but Contador was hesitant to confirm he could take back enough time to his rivals. “If the profile corresponds to the reality, it seems that the last climb is really hard and will make differences,” said Contador, then added: “But it’s complicated because there are riders ahead with a lot of time. Now the important thing is to recover and think about tomorrow.”

Tomorrow’s stage four should not throw any dents into the overall standings, although the team will need to be attentive over the category two climb that tops out 13-kilometers from stage’s end.

Stage 3
1. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar Team
2. Daniel Martin, Quick-Step Floors
3. Adam Yates, ORICA-Scott 03
4. Romain Bardet, AG2R La Mondiale
5. Ilnur Zakarin, Team Katusha – Alpecin
6. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky
7. Alberto Contador, Trek – Segafredo
8. Tejay van Garderen, BMC Racing Team
9. Michael Woods, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team :08
10. Davide Formolo, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team
12. Chris Froome, Team Sky
25. Hugh Carthy, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team 0:44
28. Peter Kennaugh, Team Sky 1:03

OVERALL
1. Tejay van Garderen, BMC Racing Team
2. Samuel Sánchez, BMC Racing Team 0:41
3. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky 0:44
4. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar Team 0:45
5. Chris Froome, Team Sky 0:49
6. Marc Soler, Movistar Team 1:10
7. Alberto Contador, Trek – Segafredo 1:13
8. Adam Yates, ORICA-Scott 1:18
9. Bauke Mollema, Trek – Segafredo 1:25
10. Jarlinson Pantano. Trek – Segafredo

12. Peter Kennaugh, Team Sky 1:44

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