Volta a Catalunya: Orica-Scott's TTT keeps Adam Yates in GC contention

Australian squad fifth in long test against the clock

The Volta a Catalunya stage 2 team time trial promised to shake up the race and general classification battle, and duly delivered. After the 25 teams had covered the 41.3km course, it was Movistar taking the spoils but having finished fifth Orica-Scott remain in the GC hunt with Adam Yates.

It wasn't all plain sailing for Movistar as following the stage, complaints lodged by BMC and Trek-Segafredo saw Jose Rojas, Nelson Oliveira and Andrey Amador all penalised by the race jury as TV footage caught Rojas pushing his teammates.

While Orica-Scott was aiming for a better stage result, Yates is still in contention for the overall podium at 1:24 minutes to race leader Alejandro Valverde. The 24-year-old, recovered from his Tirreno-Adriatico illness, sits in 27th place overall although the climber should continue to rise up the standings once the race heads into the mountains.

Compared to rivals such as Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), Yates is well placed for the remainder of the race but sport director Neil Stephens explained Orica-Scott had higher aspirations for the TTT and Yates' overall position.

"We went into the stage with really high hopes. We thought we would start a little conservatively and bring it home at the finish," Stephens said. "At the end of the day we lost a fair chunk of time at the start, and even at the end when we brought it home, we brought it home well, but four other teams just did it better than us.

"It just wasn't to be today, sometimes you aspire to do things and sometimes you're just not up to the game and that was our case today. We certainly didn't do a bad ride but it just wasn't good enough today."

The stage 3 finish to La Molina will see further changes to the GC with the climbers sure to shine on the high mountain finish. Yates will have Damien Howson, Carlos Verona and Ruben Plaza to call upon for support on the climb in his first major test since placing third on the Terminillo at Tirreno-Adriatico.

The Brit made his debut in the Spanish stage race in 2014 where he placed 16th on the La Molina climb and finished the race in 23rd place overall. In 2017, the race takes a different route to the La Molina finish with Yates aiming to better his 2014 result.

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