Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2019

March 25-31, Calella, Catalunya, Road - WorldTour

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Daniel Ostanek

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 2 of the Volta a Catalunya. Today's stage runs 179.6km from the coastal town of Mataró, just north of Barcelona, to  Sant Feliu de Guíxols.

 

 

 

  1. 11:45:39 GMT

    We're heading to the Costa Brava today! Stage w starts in 20 minutes, with the riders setting off in the neutralised zone soon.

  2. 11:48:05 GMT

    There's climbing from the off today. The road rises from the line, before the peloton hits the third category Alt de Can Bordoi at 12.2km.

     

  3. 11:52:15 GMT

    Yesterday's opening stage saw Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) take the win solo, in typical De Gendt style. The Belgian attacked his breakaway companions with over 60km left to race, holding on to win by 2:38.

     

    He holds the race lead, as well as the lead in the points and mountain classification. Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished second, just ahead of the peloton, and holds the young rider's jersey. Read the full report here.

     

     

  4. 12:00:55 GMT

    The peloton has started the neutralised section of the stage now.

     

  5. 12:11:28 GMT

    A trio of third cateogry climbs dot the route today. Unless the breakaway makes it to the finish again, we'll likely be in for a sprint finish on the climb to the line.

     

    Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will be among the top contenders for the win here. Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe), Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) and Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) are other names to look out for.

     

  6. 12:13:02 GMT

    André Greipel (Arkéa-Samsic) and Álvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-Quick Step) are also here, though today's finish could be too tough for them to sprint for the win.

  7. 12:19:48 GMT

    It will take some effort for anybody to overhaul De Gendt's race lead today. Barring the peloton letting the break have another extended day out, he should be safe in the white/green leader's jersey until stage 3.

     

  8. 162km remaining from 166.7km

    12:32:05 GMT

    The stage has started and a breakaway is already away. Jonas Gwisly (Astana), Czech national champion Josef Černý (CCC Team) and Marco Minnaard (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) are two minutes up the road.

     

    Here's a photo of the trio, from the race Twitter feed (@VoltaCatalunya).

     

  9. 154km remaining from 166.7km

    12:37:54 GMT

    Minnaard leads Wisly and Černy over the first climb of the day. They're 5:20 up on the peloton.

     

  10. 12:45:14 GMT

    A short descent for the breakaway now. Then around 70km of largely flat roads until the second climb of the day, the Port de Santa Pellaia.

     

  11. 12:52:25 GMT

    There was a celebration at the stage start today, with the race organisation commemorating Abarca Sports, the company that runs Movistar. This year marks the 40th year in the sport for Eusebio Unzué's team, previously known as Reynolds, Banesto, Illes Balears, Caisse d'Epargne, and now Movistar.

     

  12. 13:02:31 GMT

    We haven't had any updates on the time gap to the break recently. The trio of Minnaard, Wilsly and Černy are still out front.

     

  13. 13:09:58 GMT

    Updates on the race aren't exactly coming thick and fast at the moment. While the riders make their way through these early stages of the race, let's take a look at some other news.

     

    Daniel Zamora, who won the king of the mountains title at the early season Vuelta a San Juan, has been provisionally suspended by the UCI after testing positive for EPO.

     

  14. 13:19:11 GMT

    Meanwhile, Wanty-Groupe Gobert Yoann Offredo remains in hospital after his crash at the GP Denain on Sunday. The Frenchman is getting "better and better" after initial concerns about the possiblity of total tetraplegia.

     

  15. 13:23:33 GMT

    The next climb on today's stage is the Port de Santa Pellaia, at 79.8km. The third category climb is 5.7km at an average gradient of 3.4%.

     

  16. 117km remaining from 166.7km

    13:32:07 GMT

    The same three men are up front. They're 7 minutes up on the peloton at the moment.

     

  17. 13:36:40 GMT

    Lotto-Soudal and Team Sunweb are leading the peloton. Lotto for race leader Thomas De Gendt, and Sunweb for stage contender Michael Matthews.

     

  18. 13:39:48 GMT

    Our man in Catalunya, Alasdair Fotheringham, has sent in a weather report from the finish in Sant Feliu de Guíxols.

     

    It's dry and sunny on the Costa Brava this afternoon, though there is a strong southerly wind, which would be a right-to-left crosswind on the run to the town, and a headwind on the finishing straight.

     

  19. 13:43:08 GMT

    The weather is due to stay warm and dry for the remainder of the week, too. That's something of an anomaly for this race, which in the past has seen stages shortened and even cancelled due to adverse weather conditions in the Pyrenees.

     

    Here's Alasdair on those weather-forced stage alterations, from our race preview.

     

    "Cancellations or shortening of some of the key stages of the Volta has often taken place in the Pyrenees and on these climbs, too. In 2018, Vallter 2000 was removed from the race because of a blizzard, and stage 5 was then drastically shortened because of snowfalls, as was the case in 2017. Back in 2012, the entire Volta was massively mutated by the removal of two key climbs on stage 3 for the same reason."

  20. 13:48:56 GMT

    The break has just passed through the municipality of Caldes de Malavella. They'll start climbing the Port de Santa Pellaia soon.

     

  21. 13:59:07 GMT

    José Herrada (Cofidis) has gone down in a crash in the peloton. The Spaniard has abandoned the race as a result. Hopefully he's not too badly hurt.

     

  22. 14:06:12 GMT

    And the break reaches the lower slopes of the Port de Santa Pellaia.

     

  23. 74km remaining from 166.7km

    14:08:18 GMT

    Here's the break on the climb, from the race Twitter feed (@VoltaCatalunya). They're now 74km from the finish.

     

     

  24. 14:13:56 GMT

    The peloton are still being led by a mix of Lotto-Soudal and Team Sunweb. Movistar are also visible towards the front.

     

  25. 14:24:33 GMT

    The gap is reportedly down to five minutes now.

     

  26. 14:26:01 GMT

    Once again the order over the climb is Minnaard, Wilsly and Černy.

  27. 14:26:46 GMT

    De Gendt will hold on to the lead in the mountain classification, however, after his efforts over yesterday's first category climbs.

     

  28. 14:36:28 GMT

    Live television coverage should be starting soon, giving us a better idea of the race situation. The break and peloton are racing to the third climb of the day at the moment.

  29. 14:46:42 GMT

    Today's stage was shortened from the original route in the area the riders are in at the moment. Originally planned to be 179km, road works saw the stage shortened to its current 166km.

     

  30. 60km remaining from 166.7km

    14:50:12 GMT

    With 60km to race, the break are 3:50 up on the peloton.

  31. 14:54:04 GMT

    The riders will head through the finish at Sant Feliu de Guíxols before the next climb. Then follows a loop around the town, including the third category Alt de Romanyà, before they head back to finish the stage.

     

  32. 50km remaining from 166.7km

    15:01:45 GMT

    Through the feed zone for the peloton and the gap is still coming down. They're just 2:30 behind the break now.

     

  33. 46km remaining from 166.7km

    15:07:31 GMT

    The break are close to Sant Feliu de Guíxols now, where they'll get a preview of the finishing straight. 

    Here's a more in-depth look at the remaining kilometres from Veloviewer. The run to the line looks to be 600 metres at around a 5% gradient. Below is a view of the finishing straight from 300 metres out.

     

     

     

  34. 15:11:34 GMT

    The passage through the finish line will be an intermediate sprint too, by the way. There's one more after the final climb of the day too.

     

  35. 40km remaining from 166.7km

    15:15:21 GMT

    Under two minutes for the break now.

  36. 37km remaining from 166.7km

    15:19:50 GMT

    The breakaway are on the finishing straight now, heading for the intermediate sprint.

     

  37. 15:21:00 GMT

    Chris Froome and the Bora-Hansgrohe duo of Jay McCarthy and Andreas Schillinger have been involved in a crash in the town. They're all quickly back up and racing though.

     

  38. 15:22:10 GMT

    Černy leads Minnaard and Wilsly across the line. And the road keeps climbing as they roll through.

     

    Team Sunweb lead the peloton, as further back the camera shows Froome with some road rash on his right thigh.

     

  39. 15:22:43 GMT

    Froome, Schillinger and McCarthy are 1:40 behind the peloton currently. Meanwhile the break's advantage is down to just one minute.

     

  40. 35km remaining from 166.7km

    15:23:29 GMT

    1:25 between break and peloton, actually. GPS might've gone a bit haywire there.

     

  41. 15:25:11 GMT

    Froome visits the team car. He's either in a decent bit of discomfort or just not in any hurry to get back to the peloton. The two Bora men left him a while ago.

     

  42. 31km remaining from 166.7km

    15:27:32 GMT

    Froome is almost two minutes down on the peloton now. He has Caja Rural's Alan Banaszek for company.

     

    Team Sunweb continue to drive the peloton.

     

  43. 15:28:51 GMT

    Meanwhile the break is almost on the Alt de Romanyà, the final climb of the day. The stats for the climb – 5km at 5.4%.

     

  44. 15:31:12 GMT

    Froome descending in the Mohorič tuck, so he can't be feeling too stiff after the crash.

     

    He doesn't look in too much trouble, but then again, losing time today won't affect his race much. He's here for the training, while the likes of Bernal and Sosa battle it out for the overall.

     

  45. 15:33:49 GMT

    Ben O'Connor is also back with the Froome group. It looks like the Dimension Data man has hit the deck at some point too. Rémy Mertz (Lotto-Soudal) is there too, making it a four-man group.

     

  46. 15:34:18 GMT

    Černy is attacking the break, who are just 30 seconds up on the peloton. The Froome group is over three minutes down.

  47. 28km remaining from 166.7km

    15:34:50 GMT

    Both Wilsly and Minnaard have blown up trying to follow Černy's attack.

     

  48. 15:37:40 GMT

    It looks like Černy will get to take the points over the top of the climb, at least. The peloton won't want to catch him just yet.

     

  49. 24km remaining from 166.7km

    15:43:22 GMT

    Astana take to the front of the peloton, and Černy is duly caught just 400 metres from the top of the climb. Over four minutes back to the Froome group now.

     

  50. 15:44:41 GMT

    Race leader Thomas De Gendt snapped up the mountain points over the top.

     

  51. 15:47:29 GMT

    Downhill now, and then a few lumps en route to the uphill finish.

     

  52. 19km remaining from 166.7km

    15:48:36 GMT

    Astana still lead the peloton.

     

  53. 15km remaining from 166.7km

    15:52:51 GMT

    As the riders drop down the descent, here's another look at some of the contenders for the win in 15km.

     

    Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will be among the top contenders for the win here. Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe), Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) and Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) are other names to look out for.

     

    It did look like quite a tough ramp when the riders rolled through last time, so don't be surprised if GC riders like the Yates brothers (Mitchelton-Scott), Egan Bernal (Team Sky), Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) are also in the mix.

     

  54. 15:54:37 GMT

    There's a small group hanging around 30 seconds off the back of the peloton at the moment. We haven't had confirmation of who's in the group yet.

     

  55. 13km remaining from 166.7km

    15:55:24 GMT

    Froome's group is 6:40 down on the Astana-led peloton. Well out of it today, of course.

     

  56. 15:56:58 GMT

    Astana will be working for Miguel Ángel López today. Or maybe Pello Bilbao if he isn't feeling up to it.

     

    We could see quite the free-for-all on the finishing straight with the punchy sprinters and GC men all going for it.

     

  57. 11km remaining from 166.7km

    15:57:45 GMT

    Here's a map and profile of the final kilometres. The final 600 metres average around 5%.

     

     

  58. 10km remaining from 166.7km

    15:59:46 GMT

    Sky and Sunweb are up front now as the peloton approach the sprint at Platja d'Aro.

     

  59. 16:00:16 GMT

    Froome group now almost eight minutes back.

     

  60. 9km remaining from 166.7km

    16:00:48 GMT

    The peloton is lined out as Sky pile on the pressure. We're in for a fast finale.

     

  61. 16:01:11 GMT

    They're flying along at almost 60km/h.

     

  62. 16:02:36 GMT

    Alejandro Valverde leads out the sprint early and there's not much in the way of competition. He takes the bonus seconds. It looked like Quintana took second, followed by a Jumbo-Visma rider.

     

  63. 7km remaining from 166.7km

    16:02:52 GMT

    Natnael Berhane (Cofidis) has put in an attack.

     

  64. 16:03:43 GMT

    Here's our story on Chris Froome's crash today, by the way.

     

    Steven Kruijswijk took third in the sprint. So three seconds for Valverde, two for Quintana and one for the Dutchman.

     

  65. 6km remaining from 166.7km

    16:04:13 GMT

    Berhane is trying his best to keep his move going, but the peloton are close behind and soon make the catch.

     

  66. 16:04:48 GMT

    Jumbo-Visma take to the front of the peloton alongside Team Sky now.

     

  67. 5km remaining from 166.7km

    16:05:48 GMT

    A Catalan flag by the road confirms the headwind the riders will face in the race to the line.

     

  68. 4km remaining from 166.7km

    16:06:28 GMT

    Jumbo-Visma lead it up a steep, but short, rise in the road.

     

  69. 3.5km remaining from 166.7km

    16:07:34 GMT

    The bunch is lined out under the pace now. They're about to reach the point where Froome and McCarthy hit the deck. Hopefully there'll be no repeats of that.

     

  70. 3km remaining from 166.7km

    16:08:11 GMT

    Michael Woods (EF Education First) and Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) put in a few digs over the top of that last rise. They're descending now.

     

  71. 16:08:32 GMT

    Then some false flat from 2km to 1km before the road rises again.

     

  72. 2km remaining from 166.7km

    16:08:50 GMT

    Schachmann has a small gap on the descent.

     

  73. 16:09:29 GMT

    It's certainly a twisty run-in. No chance for those at the back of  the peloton to make their way up.

     

  74. 1.5km remaining from 166.7km

    16:09:57 GMT

    The peloton is lined out in single-file at the moment. Tension mounting.

     

  75. 1km remaining from 166.7km

    16:10:24 GMT

    Final kilometre! Mix of teams up front.

     

  76. 16:10:36 GMT

    Mitchelton-Scott winds it up.

     

  77. 16:10:46 GMT

    Mix of GC men up front.

     

  78. 16:11:04 GMT

    Valverde, Impey, Schachmann all there.

     

  79. 0.3km remaining from 166.7km

    16:11:14 GMT

    Impey goes first!

     

  80. 16:11:32 GMT

    Terrible camerawork misses Michael Matthews pass Impey...

     

  81. 16:11:41 GMT

    And Matthews takes the win!

     

  82. 16:12:31 GMT

    First win of the season for Matthews. He's had a crash-hit start to the season.

     

  83. 16:13:19 GMT

    Valverde took second, around a bike length behind Matthews. Impey was third.

     

  84. 16:13:54 GMT

    Schachmann and Odd Christian Eiking (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) were fourth and fifth.

     

  85. 16:14:14 GMT

    So another six seconds bonus for Valverde there, to go with three earlier on.

     

  86. 16:17:12 GMT

    Here's the top ten on the stage:

     

    1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 04:09:34
    2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
    3 Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
    4 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
    5 Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty-Gobert
    6 James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep
    7 Patrick Bevin (NZl) CCC Team
    8 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Dimension Data
    9 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
    10 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates

     

  87. 16:18:09 GMT

    And here's Matthews talking after his win:

     

    "It was really hard but I was pretty confident in an uphill sprint like this. But after my bad luck this year it's just incredible. I'm so happy. When I saw Valverde on my wheel really struggling in the sprint, I knew that I was going fast and had some good power, so I'm so thankful to my team for believing in me for this long and came up with a nice victory.

     

     

    "We really needed it. I think it's only the second victory of the year for such a big team and a team that puts so much into cycling. We really needed this – just for the confidence for the team, to know how strong we are against other teams. It's a really beautiful victory."

     

  88. 16:19:06 GMT

    It's the second win of the season for Team Sunweb. Cees Bol took the win at Nokere Koerse last week.

     

  89. 16:21:01 GMT

    Here's the updated general classification:

     

    1 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 08:23:50
    2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:02:47
    3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 00:02:48
    4 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
    5 Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott 00:02:54
    6 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 00:02:56
    7 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 00:02:57
    8 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
    9 Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
    10 Patrick Bevin (NZl) CCC Team 00:02:58

     

  90. 16:29:06 GMT

    We spoke to Matthews after his 12th place at Milan-San Remo, only his third racing day of 2019 at the time.

     

    He talked about his crashes at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Paris-Nice, and told of how he was keen to put his early season behind him.

     

    It looks like he's done just that today. He'll get a few more chances to win this week, and then Matthews is off to Flanders and the Ardennes classics.

     

  91. 16:39:42 GMT

    Some strong results for a few youngsters today. Schachmann is already a Grand Tour stage winner, of course. Impressive rides from Odd Christian Eiking and James Knox to take fifth and sixth today, though considering all the elite names battling for the win.

     

  92. 16:41:05 GMT

    Here's a shot of Matthews celebrating his victory today.

     

     

  93. 16:50:36 GMT

    Tomorrow's third stage will be a different story, with the first summit finish of the race at Vallter 2000 in the Pyrenees.

     

    A largely flat opening 110km gives way to the first category climbs of the Port d'Oix and Port de Rocabruna before the final 11km, 7.7% climb to the finish at Setcases.

     

    It'll be one for the GC men, that's for sure, and could be a race decider given the relative ease of the following stage finish in La Molina.

     

  94. 16:57:40 GMT

    Matthews celebrating on the podium.

     

    Our full race report, with photos and brief results is up now. Stay tuned for the full results

     

     

  95. 17:04:15 GMT

    That's it for our live coverage of stage 2 of the Volta a Catalunya. Come back tomorrow for our full minute-by-minute stage report!

     

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