Aggressive display from BMC on penultimate Volta a Catalunya stage

Having conceded the overall Volta a Catalunya race lead on Stage 5, BMC had a point to prove on stage 6 with Alessandro De Marchi the chief instigator. While the team came up short in its bid for a stage win, De Marchi finished fifth and former leader Tejay van Garderen moved up to fifth place overall.

On paper, the descent off Alt de Bot didn't appear that threatening but the peloton had other ideas as the race split with Chris Froome the biggest casualty as he missed the move. The first group on the road pushed on to eliminate Froome from the GC conversation and contributed to 47 riders missing the time cut. At the pointy end of the race, De Marchi and compatriot Dario Cataldo (Astana) dived off the front of the peloton inside 15km to go.

With a ten second lead over the chasers under the flamme rouge, De Marchi was poised for victory only for the fast charging peloton to snatch the win inside the final 50 metres with Daryl Impey coming up trumps.

"It was almost perfect for me, but then I had a small flat on the last kilometer, and maybe I waited too long to sprint, but you never know if you don't try and I was feeling good," said De Marchi who finished fifth on the day. "The whole day was really hard, but I am used to this type of day. It was just like being in a breakaway, and I have a lot of experience being in that position. I knew that all the guys in the final would be really tired so, it was just about trying to take a few seconds advantage and to see what could happen." 

BMC's sport director Jackson Stewart suggested the team could have taken more from the day but in the end had to be content with the outcome.

"Of course, it was good that we were represented in the front with Tejay van Garderen and Alessandro De Marchi, but it was also a shame to lose Samuel Sánchez' position on the overall General Classification as he was in the second group with Brent Bookwalter. Then, we had Joey Rosskopf and Kilian Frankiny in third group who finished out of time but I think there were a lot of teams who got caught got out and who are in a similar situation to us," Stewart said.

"On the other hand, we got to move up one place overall with van Garderen, so we limited our losses in that sense. Plus De Marchi, who has done a great job all week, made an excellent move at the end. He looked super strong, and we thought this was his day, but it just wasn't meant to be on the line."

Going into the final stage, van Garderen is 1:24 minute down on Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) with just three seconds separating himself and Adam Yates in fourth place. Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) meanwhile is almost one minute behind van Garderen with one final shake up on the general classification expected on the hilly Barcelona circuit.

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