Contador aims to bridge GC gap in the mountains
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) is currently sitting in 2:50 minutes behind the the overall race leader Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) after the second stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. The Spaniard is hoping to close that gap in the upcoming mountainous stage 4 from Tona to La Molina on Thursday.
“With the advantage that they have in the GC it will probably be very difficult and hard to fight for the overall win from behind,” Contador said. “In any case, Catalunya is my last race before the Giro so I want to test myself before leaving the race. We will try to use any possibility to take time in the GC, maybe tomorrow or maybe to La Molina on stage 4. It is not the best climb but for sure we will try something.”
Paterski is leading the overall classification by four seconds ahead of Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and eight seconds ahead of Bart De Clercq (Lotto Soudal), after the trio made up the successful breakaway on stage 1 that saw GC favourites like Contador and Chris Froome (Team Sky) lose 2:40 minutes.
Valverde thanks Movistar teammates for stage 2 success
Alejandro Valverde thanked his Movistar teammates for their strategic efforts in helping him win the stage 2 sprint in Olot on Tuesday. The team placed first and second on the day with Valverde taking the win ahead of Jose Rojas.
“All of my teammates were always focused on avoiding any problems, bringing us weather clothes, food... I want to thank all of them as well as the whole team for their huge work,” Valverde said in a team press release.
“I wasn't conscious about Rojas coming from behind, either; at the end, we took first and second, a big joy for us.”
Valverde is now in fourth overall at 2:40 minutes behind race leader Paterski, and Rojas is fifth at 2:44 back.
Valverde said that he is still recovering from the recent Milan-San Remo but that he will look to the stage 3 climbs on the Girona circuit to move up in the overall.
“There's a quite demanding climb tomorrow, with a pretty difficult descent afterwards. We'll see what happens; we must stay focused, as well myself as Ruben [Fernandez] who are doing strong this week, and let's see how I recover from the efforts. I came into this race after Sanremo, which is almost like two stages, and the first two days here were also demanding - but you never know.”
CCC Sprandi Polkowice defends Paterski’s lead
CCC Sprandi Polkowice successfully defended stage 1 winner Maciej Paterski’s race lead during stage 2 at the Volta a Catalunya. The team had their work cut out for them after a four-man breakaway spent nearly the entire 191.8km stage off the front.
“The plan was to let few escapees break clear at the beginning of the stage, let them gain few minutes of advantage and then control the situation. This is exactly what happened. We stayed in the front setting solid and stable pace,” said director Piotr Wadecki.
Near the end of the stage, CCC Sprandi Polkowice relied on teams with faster sprinters to take over and control the race to the finish line, won by Valverde.
Paterski will wear the leader’s jersey into stage 3 in Girona, where there is a Cat 1 climb Alt Dels Angels about 10km from the finish line.
A day in the breakaway for Lampre-Merida’s Grmay
Lampre-Merida had no luck getting into the stage 1 breakaway that succeeded to the finish line with a 2:40 gap over the main field on Monday, but the team was pleased with Tsgabu Grmay’s performance in the all-day breakaway during stage 2 on Tuesday.
It was 191.8 kilometres from Mataro to Olot and Grmay was a part of a four-man move that took off in the first five kilometres. The move also included Sam Bewley (Orica-GreenEdge), Luis Mas Bonet (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Tom Stamsnijder (Giant-Alpecin). After their brave efforts, the peloton reeled them back in following the final climb of the day with under 18km left of the race.
"Grmay was great in joining the main breakaway, it was not so easy because the battle in the early kilometers had been hard and the rain and the cold made the stage demanding,” said director Orlando Maini.