Contador, Rodriguez and Valverde head Volta a Catalunya line-up

Catalan WorldTour race will feature more but smaller climbs to avoid bad weather

Defending champion Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) will face Spanish rivals Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) when he targets a third Volta a Catalunya title between 23-29 March. Although the race will feature more categorised climbs than this year’s edition, there will only be one high-altitude summit finish. This will take place on the first-category La Molina on day four.

While the number of climbs has been boosted, the organisers have opted against a second summit finish in the Pyrenees following the bad weather that hit the 2014 stage to Vallter 2000. Although it was completed, with Tejay van Garderen first home, snow and fog resulted in a near-invisible finale.

The 95th edition of the Volta will kick off with a stage starting and finishing in Calella on the Costa Brava to the north of Barcelona. The second stage heads inland to Olot, followed by a stage starting and finishing in Girona.

The fourth stage is the most testing. Starting in Tona, it will include the only HC climb of the race, which Marca suggests will be the Coll de la Creueta, which tops out at 1925 metres. The stage finish will be on the first-category climb up to the Pyrenean resort of La Molina.

After stages to Valls and Port Aventura, the Volta concludes with a stage in Barcelona that comprises seven circuits of Montjuich with its third-category climb.

2015 Volta a Catalunya:

Stage 1, 23 March: Calella-Calella, 191.1km
Stage 2, 24 March: Mataró-Olot, 195.5km
Stage 3, 25 March: Girona-Girona, 159.6km
Stage 4, 26 March: Tona-La Molina, 191km
Stage 5, 27 March: Alp-Valls, 197km
Stage 6, 28 March: Cervera-Port Aventura, 197.7km
Stage 7, 29 March: Barcelona-Barcelona, 123.5km

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