The first stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya was a stage for the fast men in the peloton. After the breakaway of the day was caught, the sprinter teams started to form their lead-out. BORA – hansgrohe did a great job and spent the day at the front of the main bunch. In the finale, Jay McCarthy was the last lead-out man for Sam Bennett, but on the last metres A. Hodeg increased the pace and took the win ahead of Sam Bennett, Jay McCarthy finished on third place.
With its 98th edition, the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya started in the city of Calella. The race began with the usual sprint stage in Calella, but this year it was a shorter stage than in the previous years. The first stage covered nearly 155km with two intermediate sprints and one categorised climb, shortly before the finish.
The Team Tactics
Today´s stage was earmarked for the fast men in the peloton.
The German squad focused on their Irish sprinter Sam Bennett. The plan was to try to keep the race together, so that it would come to a bunch sprint. In the final few kilometres, the team was to concentrate their efforts on bringing Sam into an optimal position, to give him the best chance at producing a strong result.
The race started under clear skies as a group of five riders went up the road. Their gap increased to over three minutes and after some kilometres a sixth rider was able to join the breakaway. BORA – hansgrohe stayed together in the main bunch and took control over the pace. With 21km remaining the group was caught and the race came together to the climb, “Port de Collsacreu”. The German team BORA – hansgrohe was in front of the race, to be in a good position for the descent. 14km before the finish, Team Movistar took control over the main bunch and increased the pace. The race headed into the final kilometres, BORA – hansgrohe formed their lead-out for Sam Bennett. Jay McCarthy was the last man for the Irish sprinter. Together the two BORA – hansgrohe riders were in the first positions with Quick-Step Floors. But A. Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors) was the fastest man today and took the win. Sam Bennett crossed the line second, teammate Jay McCarthy finished in third place.
From the Finish Line
“First, I have to say, the boys did a great job today. Especially Pawel, he was always at the front to control the pace. As expected we had a bunch sprint and the guys worked very well together and brought Sam in a good position. Unfortunately, A. Hodeg was the fastest man today, nevertheless, we took second and third, which is a good result. Of course, a victory would be nice but we have some stages left to try something.” – Jens Zemke, sports director
“What can I say, the team worked really good. I want to thank my teammates for the support the whole day. Due to illness I left Paris – Nice and now I am missing some race kilometres. I felt good today but I hadn´t the legs to go for the victory but I am satisfied with my second place.” – Sam Bennett