A 19.2 kilometre team time trial will kick off the first stage of the 85th Volta a Catalunya, one of the oldest Tours on the calendar, and this year part of the UCI ProTour. The week long race runs from Monday, May 16, through Sunday, May 22, and contains a number of very challenging stages. Stages 2 and 3 already feature several Cat. 2 and Cat. 3 climbs, but Stage 4, from Perafort to the Pal ski station in Arinsal (Andorra) is 237.7 km long and finishes with two Cat. 1 climbs, both at over 1850m altitude. There will not be much relief the next day in stage 5, with a 17 km mountain time trial from Sornas to the Ordino ski station at Arcalís. This stage climbs from 1300m to 2220m, with 660m of that in the final 9.3 km.
Stage 6 from Llívia to Pallejà (199 km) starts with the Cat. 1 Collada de Toses (km 27.9), but contains only one other Cat. 2 climb, and that comes with over 80 km to go, which means there could be a fairly large group to contest the finish. The final stage is just 113 km from Pallejà to Barcelona, but is punctuated by three Cat. 3 climbs and another uncategorised one at the start.
Although many of the top ProTour riders are racing in the Giro d'Italia, the Volta will see the likes of Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile), Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), M.A. Martín Perdiguero (Phonak) at the start.
Stage 1 - May 16: Salou-Salou TTT, 19.2 km
Stage 2 - May 17: Cambrils-Cambrils, 186,8 km
Stage 3 - May 18: Salou-La Granada, 157,8 km
Stage 4 - May 19: Perafort-Estació d'esquí de Pal-Arinsal (Andorra), 237,7 km
Stage 5 - May 20: Sornàs (Andorra)-Estació d'esquí d'Ordino-Arcalís (Andorra) ITT, 17,1 km
Stage 6 - May 21: Llívia-Pallejà, 198,7 km
Stage 7 - May 22: Pallejà-Barcelona (Sants), 113,1 km
Gerolsteiner (René Haselbacher), Quick Step (Kevin De Weert), Davitamon Lotto (Mario Aerts), Fassa Bortolo (Lorenzo Bernucci), Credit Agricole (Alexandre Botcharov), Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne (José Luis Arrieta), Liberty Seguros-Würth (Luis León Sanchez, Carlos Barredo), Cofidis (Stéphane Augé), Liquigas-Bianchi (Magnus Bäckstedt), Discovery Channel (Stijn Devolder), Relax-Fuenlabrada (Daniel Moreno), Lampre-Caffita (Alessandro Ballan), Rabobank (Denis Menchov), Domina-Vacanze (Ruggero Borghi), Team CSC (Andy Schleck), T-Mobile Team (Jan Ullrich), Comunidad Valenciana (David Blanco), Bouygues Telecom (Laurent Brochard), Euskaltel-Euskadi (Iban Mayo), Française des Jeux, Phonak Hearing Systems (M.A. Martín Perdiguero), Saunier Duval (Leonardo Piepoli), Kaiku (José Antonio López).
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