Volta a Catalunya: Stage 2

For the second time in his career, Alejandro Valverde won a stage of the Volta a Catalunya and now leads the race overall –  Tao Geoghegan Hart was eighth on the stage

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Volta a Catalunya: Stage 2

At a finish, where he had already taken a solo win three years ago – the long, uphill straight leading to the sports arena of Valls (Tarragona) named by the late Xavi Tondo – Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) raised his arms victorious again on Tuesday.

Valverde had the backing of his Telefónica-backed squad who over the whole 175km stage two and was well supported by his team against the wind – which itself caused a delay for the race of almost an hour behind the average timetable scheduled.

When time bonuses were on offer, Movistar again helped their team leaders Valverde and Nairo Quintana to take 2″ and 1″ bonus at the day’s final intermediate sprint. At the decisive climb of Lilla (Cat-2), just 10km from the finish, the rhythm by the Movistar Team and Mitchelton-Scott saw race leader Álvaro Hodeg (QST) dropped and created a selection for a reduced bunch sprint, where Valverde was fastest.
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Alejandro, who’s got already six wins to his 2018 account -two stage victories + GC in Valencia; one stage + GC in Abu Dhabi-, helped the Movistar Team improve their tally this season to nine and his own counter to 114 victories as a pro competitor. The Volta, in turn, will kick off its trio of mountain stages on Wednesday over a significantly shortened route (153km) from Sant Cugat to Camprodon – and not to the mountain-top finish of Vallter 2000, as initially proposed, instead going through a snow (and avalanche)-free route over Bracons (Cat-1) and Collabós (Cat-2).

Alejandro Valverde: “We spent the whole day at the front of the bunch because of the strong winds, which could have caused some splits as we saw in previous years. After the break was caught, a window opened for us to go chase the bonus seconds, so we went for them.  … continued after advert


However, it wasn’t on the team’s plans to aim for the stage win, not at all. It was just that Mitchelton-Scott got through the final climb at a really strong pace, and with the bunch strung out and many sprinters dropping, it was easier for us to seek for a good position in the main field – that was where we chose to go for the win.”

“The finish was slightly uphill – I knew it well, and I kept in mind that it was good for me – and the work by José Joaquín from the summit of the climb was phenomenal, he kept me at the front at all times. I’ve won here in Valls with a solo attack, into a sprint… It’s always beautiful to take a victory in this town and make a tribute to our friend Xavi Tondo, one we always remember wherever we go. It’s also a victory for my son Iván, who broke his collarbone last weekend while playing football. I was so sad not to be able to support him at home – hope this victory brings some joy and strength to him.”

“Tomorrow’s stage will be really hard, especially for my team-mates. It’s tough to take the GC lead so early in the race, because you exige a lot from the rest of the team. Hopefully, on roads quite narrower than today’s, as long as we keep the front it should be easier. I already had pressure on my shoulders before this victory, so it doesn’t change really much – it just gives you more confidence to see things going so well. It’s time to ride calm and safely, and do our best!”

1. Alejandro Valverde
2. Daryl Impey
3. Jay McCarthy
4. Arley Bernal
5. Matej Mohoric
6. Enrico Gasparotto
7. JJ Rojas
8. Tao Geoghegan Hart
9. Toms Skujins
10. Alex Howes

31. Adam Yates
59. Hugh Carthy
61. James Shaw
130. Stephen Cummings
159. James Knox






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