Volta a Catalunya: GC win for Adam Yates

Adam Yates, Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas locked out the podium at the WorldTour event after a thrilling final day in Barcelona where Thomas de Gendt won the stage.

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Volta a Catalunya: GC win for Adam Yates

Breakaway hero Thomas De Gendt has struck once more. The Lotto Soudal rider rode to a memorable victory in the final stage of the Volta a Catalunya. During the final lap of the local circuit – around the famous Montjuïc hill in Barcelona – De Gendt left behind his breakaway companion Matej Mohoric and soloed to victory. For the 34-year-old Belgian, it was the fifth stage victory of his career at the Volta a Catalunya.

“I really like the Volta a Catalunya and with five stage victories under my belt, the race seems to suit me really well”, Thomas De Gendt began. “I just like the terrain and the variety of stages. I was really disappointed that the race couldn’t take place last year due to the known circumstances. Fortunately, I’m back this year and I could grab another stage win. It is my ninth participation in this stage race and I am successful on almost every occasion. So you can state that the Volta a Catalunya really is a race made for me.”

Thomas De Gendt also knew the final stage all too well because back in 2013, it was in Barcelona that the Lotto Soudal rider already took his first stage victory at the Volta a Catalunya.

“In 2013, I also won the closing stage and it feels really special to win in an iconic city like Barcelona. I have to admit that I didn’t feel great the first few days into the stage race, but the past days, I could definitely feel some improvement. It turned out that I had a really good day today and that resulted in this nice stage win”, Thomas De Gendt said.

Following several attempts in the beginning of the race, a large front group of over thirty riders finally formed. Not long after Thomas De Gendt and his breakaway companions reached the local circuit in Barcelona at about 50 kilometres from the finish, the Lotto Soudal rider made his move on the first of six climbs towards Montjuïc. Only Matej Mohoric managed to bridge to De Gendt and as the cooperation in the chasing group wasn’t great, the advantage of the pair quickly increased. After a few laps on the local course, it soon became clear that De Gendt and Matej Mohoric would battle it out for the stage win.

After many laps where Matej Mohoric would gap De Gendt on the descent and then wait for De Gendt, the key moment fell on the final climb towards Montjuïc, where Thomas De Gendt launched an impressive acceleration and left the Slovenian behind. The Lotto Soudal rider powered towards the finish and took a memorable fifth stage victory at the Volta a Catalunya.

“On the descent of Montjuïc, Matej Mohoric always took some advantage, but he kept letting me come back. I knew that I had to leave him behind on the climb because on the descent, he would be the better rider and I would have to settle for second place. When the Slovenian took the lead on the final ascent, I felt that the pace dropped a bit and I decided to attack. Then I hoped he would get dropped and not come back on the descent. Luckily I was able to open up a nice gap and ride solo to victory”, Thomas De Gendt concluded.

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GC Battle
Adam Yates, Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas locked out the overall podium at the WorldTour event after a thrilling final day in Barcelona where Thomas de Gendt won the stage. Adam Yates’ team were forced to work hard over six laps of a relentless circuit around Montjuic as Movistar launched a number of attacks in a bid to put Valverde into the top three but Yates was ready for the attacks and Thomas and Porte were alongside to help as well.

Luke Rowe got through a lot of early work as a large breakaway went clear ahead of the finishing circuit, soaking up some key bonus seconds along the way. Jonathan Castroviejo, Richard Carapaz and Rohan Dennis ensured that Adam Yate’s team had numbers to the fore, with Movistar finally splitting the peloton with three laps to go. After fending off the challenge of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), it was Thomas who drove into the final kilometre to help seal an emphatic result whilst ahead Thomas De Gendt had left his breakaway partner Matej Mohoric on the final lap of the very lumpy circuit and raced away for the stage victory.

Adam Yates: “It’s been a good week. We started off with big ambitions and we ended up 1-2-3 on GC. There’s not much more we can say really. It was the perfect team performance. Even today was a really tough day, especially with this climb. It’s a lot steeper and harder than I remember, but the team had it under control. It’s a really special day. We wanted to win the race but in the end we had three guys in really good positions. We worked perfectly together and we controlled the race from start to finish. Two years ago I was close, I just missed out on that win. Now to come back and take the top step is great, and it makes it more special to see my two team-mates on the other steps.”

Geraint Thomas: “It feels good to be back on the podium at a World Tour race. To be honest it was never really a goal at the start of the year to be going so well so early. But I’ve been working hard and each race I’ve felt better and better. The team here has just been incredible, as you’ve seen on the road. Morale is good and I’m enjoying racing with the boys. It’s unbelievable really to have a 1-2-3. It’s an amazing feeling”.

“Everyone was communicating really well and we’ve got a lot of experience of defending the jersey. Today was the hardest day for sure – Movistar really attacked the race once we got on to the circuit. I was definitely in the hurt box for quite a few laps but I think everyone was. We stuck together well, had strength in numbers and were able to take morale off each other really and keep it under control.”

Lucas Hamilton (10th overall): “I think this race is up there with the toughest one-week races that I have done. It was a final good day for us with Dion Smith and Tanel Kangert getting into the main breakaway. It just wasn’t meant to be in the end, that group didn’t stay away to the line but then we just drilled it on the final laps and so it was pretty hard all day.
In the end, we had three guys there in the final group and finished with three in the top-10 and we can be happy with the whole week.”

Esteban Chaves: “It is awesome, three guys in the top-10 overall and three guys in the first group today in the final. This circuit in Barcelona, I think it was harder today than the previous years, but the team worked perfectly. We covered the breakaway; everybody was super active throughout the race and everybody was super committed. I am happy for the results; it gives me confidence for my performance and for the coming races. It is unbelievable for us, for the team, but we deserved this. We worked really hard for this; this is not for free, we put a lot of effort in and this is the result and we need to enjoy it but we also need to keep working for the future.”

Alejandro Valverde (4th overall): “I am very happy with this Volta. I think we had a good race; the whole team, in general, has fought it to the end. Today I think we have been the only ones who have tried to do something to change things. We had three very strong men and a block like INEOS ahead, but we fought to try to break the race and isolate them. The escape was allowed to go very far and there were no options to look for that bonus at the finish line, but despite being a complicated situation to come back, we have fought to get on that podium until the finish line and we have not stayed far.”

“I was already coming to this Volta with a good feeling from home, different from UAE and the previous tests. I had taken great care of myself, I had even lost some weight, I was motivated to see where I was and the taste in my mouth is very good. My next? The Indurain GP, next Saturday, and then the Itzulia. Hopefully with these same sensations”.

Wilco Kelderman (5th on GC): “I think we had a really successful Volta a Catalunya, two stage wins, and a good GC position. It was what we came for here and we achieved it. We had a good team spirit and we can be happy with our performance. As for today’s final stage, it was full gas from start to finish. I tried to stay with the main GC contenders and it was a good race as we finished together. I’m very happy with how my recovery is progressing after my accident in Lake Garda, it is much better than I expected, so I’m very happy with this.”

Dan Martin (Israel Startup Nation): “Look what we have proved here,” said Dan Martin seconds after getting to the bus, drained after spending the whole day in the breakaway. “We were fighting for the win, day in and day out, in one of the hardest stage races in the world, and we were so close to winning two stages here. It shows you where ISN is headed: we are going to improve a lot in the next few weeks! I did not have great legs (on the final stage) and struggled with the breathing,” he said, still affected by his few weeks of ill health that preceded the race.

Mike Woods (Israel Startup Nation), 11th “I dug really deep,” he said. “But INEOS did not let me go. Happy with the results and the progress.”

Chris Froome (Israel Startup Nation): “Although it was a tough week for me personally, I felt my form improving as the days went by, which gives me confidence going forward. From a team perspective, it was wonderful to see everyone pull together. Although we are a relatively new group, we are quickly developing a great sense of camaraderie. I’d also like to say a special thank you to the fans out on the road who supported me from start to finish; it was incredibly motivating. After a few recovery days, I will be heading off to my second team training camp of the year and will return to racing at the Tour of the Alps.”


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