News: DeGendt Dominates Stage 1 of Catalunya

Thomas De Gendt solos to victory on stage 1 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya: ““I absolutely wanted to be in the breakaway today to aim for the stage win”

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News: DeGendt Dominates Stage 1 of Catalunya

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) stays away for 60km to claim a solo victory into Calella on stage 1 of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya on Monday.

In the early kilometres of the race, six-riders jumped away from the bunch and hovered for most of the stage around three minutes ahead. As the peloton headed over each of the climbs on the day’s menu, the leaders continued ahead until the penultimate climb, the Coll Formic, when Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) launched himself out of the breakaway and led the peloton by three and a half minutes.

Photo: @VoltaCatalunya 

On a lengthy descent, De Gendt was able to open up his advantage even further over the peloton to four and a half minutes. Behind, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Egan Bernal (Team Sky) contested the minor placings for bonus seconds in the next intermediate sprint as they crept towards the final climb of the stage. Esteban Chaves headed towards the front of the peloton to keep the tempo up alongside other teams but with no real hurry in the bunch, the chase wasn’t enough and De Gendt continued to hold a sizeable lead as the rest of the breakaway was swallowed up.

In the closing five kilometres, Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) took an opportunity and also jumped away from the peloton, holding off the sprint to take second place with De Gendt stealing the victory, crossing the line two minutes 42 seconds ahead of the peloton.
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Thomas De Gendt: “I absolutely wanted to be in the breakaway today to aim for the stage win. I tried to take the mountains jersey as well, but I did not want to waste too much energy on this. The peloton quickly brought down our bonus to two minutes, but I did not panic. The hardest part was yet to come, being a short and steep hill. I was riding at a very high pace there, hoping the strongest would survive, but only Luis Maté was able to follow. However, he could not take the lead anymore and he just stayed in my wheel until the next hill, the Coll Formic. Because I knew Maté really was at his limit, I attacked again and he had to let go.”

“From there on I was on my own, but I knew the descent very well due to my experience from the previous editions. I knew what was ahead of me, thus I could anticipate with my watts. Some parts I did at a higher pace than others. It was to my advantage that I have covered the final 40 kilometres already seven times. Each year during the weeks of Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya, I am in great shape. I always look forward to this period. In Paris-Nice my shape went only upwards, so I felt excellent. Because of the calm week that followed, I presumed to perform even better in Catalonia.”

“On the first day, there is no GC leader yet, so then it is difficult to find a team willing to lead the chase. For the sprinters it was a bit too tough today and I responded well to that. On top of that, I think the GC riders will not care too much about me. The two uphill finishes could make me lose fifteen minutes, so it does not really matter that I am two minutes ahead now. Tomorrow I should keep the leader’s jersey, but I suppose I will not be able to follow the top riders on the next day.”



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