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Brandon McNulty wins Trofeo Calvia

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Brandon McNulty won the first race of the Challenge Mallorca with a solo attack

Brandon McNulty won the first race of the Challenge Mallorca with a solo attack (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Brandon McNulty wins the opening race of the Challenge Mallorca

Brandon McNulty wins the opening race of the Challenge Mallorca (Image credit: Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022)
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BRandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) makes a solo attack

BRandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) makes a solo attack (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The Challenge Mallorca peloton during the Trofeo Calviá

The Challenge Mallorca peloton during the Trofeo Calviá (Image credit: Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022)
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James Piccoli (Israel-Premier Tech)

James Piccoli (Israel-Premier Tech) (Image credit: Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022)
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The Challenge Mallorca pack rides into the hills

The Challenge Mallorca pack rides into the hills (Image credit: Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022)
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Alejandro Valverde started his final season at the Challenge Mallorca

Alejandro Valverde started his final season at the Challenge Mallorca (Image credit: Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022)
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Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) in the peloton

Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) in the peloton (Image credit: Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022)
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Movistar lead the peloton at the Challenge Mallorca

Movistar lead the peloton at the Challenge Mallorca (Image credit: Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022)
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Lotto Soudal ride on the front of the Trofeo Calviá at the Challenge Mallorca

Lotto Soudal ride on the front of the Trofeo Calviá at the Challenge Mallorca (Image credit: Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022)
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Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates)

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) (Image credit: Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022)
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Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) goes on the attack at the Challenge Mallorca

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) goes on the attack at the Challenge Mallorca (Image credit: Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022)
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Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) lines out the attack

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) lines out the attack (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bora-Hansgrohe) went on the attack at the Challenge Mallorca

Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bora-Hansgrohe) went on the attack at the Challenge Mallorca (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) tries an attack

Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) tries an attack (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The views of the Challenge Mallorca

The views of the Challenge Mallorca (Image credit: Getty Images)
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he first race of the Challenge Mallorca offered amazing views

he first race of the Challenge Mallorca offered amazing views (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Joel Suter won the sprint for second place

Joel Suter won the sprint for second place (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) brings home a small chase group

Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) brings home a small chase group (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Brandon McNulty goes all in for victory

Brandon McNulty goes all in for victory (Image credit: Getty Images)

Brandon McNulty (opens in new tab) of UAE Team Emirates (opens in new tab) produced a remarkable solo breakaway to win the Trofeo Calvia, the first of the Challenge Mallorca (opens in new tab) races, forging clear with some 60km remaining and then fending off a select chasing group all the way to the finish in Palmanova.

The American rolled home some 1:17 clear of the eight chasers, who were led across the line by his teammate Joel Suter, with Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) beating Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) to final spot on the podium.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was part of that group as he kicked-off his final season as a professional, taking sixth place and somehow winning the prize for the day’s most combative rider despite McNulty’s aggression and his victorious lone raid.

McNulty first went on the offensive on the Coll den Blenda, where his acceleration helped to splinter the peloton, and he persisted in his efforts over the other side, eventually jumping away alone ahead of the Coll den Claret. By the summit, McNulty had 50 seconds in hand on a group of chasers that included Wellens, Valverde, Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar) and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Although the pursuers initially managed to shave a handful of seconds off McNulty’s advantage, his ability as a rouleur and their lack of cohesion saw the balance swing back in favour of the lone leader on the undulating run towards the finish.

Once McNulty stretched his lead out to 1:15 with 15km to go, it was already apparent that the chasing group of Valverde, Buchmann, Suter, Wellens, Albanese, Simon Clarke (Israel Premier Tech), Kobe Goossens (Intermarché-Wanty) and Lukasz Owsian (Arkea-Samsic) al was fighting for second place in the opening event of the Challenge Mallorca. 

Further behind, meanwhile, Michael Matthews (BikeExchange) won the bunch sprint for 10th place, 2:55 down on McNulty.

The win was McNulty’s first since he won the Giro di Sicilia for Team Rally in 2019, though the Arizon had already impressed across his first two seasons at UAE Team Emirates, placing 15th overall at the 2020 Giro d’Italia and riding in support of Tadej Pogačar at last year’s Tour de France.

McNulty is in line to ride in Pogačar’s service again at this year’s Tour, but he will have some opportunities of his own in shorter stage races, beginning with the Volta ao Algarve next month.

How it unfolded

The opening road race of the European season took place in Valencia at the weekend, but the opening day of the Challenge Mallorca marked the first 1.1 category race of the year and the beginning of the campaign for 10 WorldTour squads.

The Trofeo Calvia, with five classified climbs across its 154.7km, is one of the hillier events in the five days of racing in Mallorca and there was no shortage of riders eager to take advantage of that terrain in the opening part of the race.

The first break formed barely 10km after the start in Peguera, when Pablo Alonso (Electro Hiper Europa-Caldas), Mirco Maestri (Eolo-Kometa) and James Piccoli (Israel Premier Tech) forged clear of the peloton. Piccoli led that trio over the Coll des Tords with a buffer of 4:23 over the peloton, and that extended to 7:10 before Movistar and Lotto Soudal instigated the pursuit behind.

Come the summit of the Coll den Claret after 40km, the break’s advantage had dropped inside five minutes, and it began to tumble rapidly thereafter. At the top of the day’s third ascent, the Coll de Sóller, Piccoli, Maestri and Montes retained just a minute of their lead, and they were caught by the peloton with 72km remaining.

By then, the race was already on the Coll den Bleda, where a group of strongmen led by Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) forced its way clear. 

McNulty was initially joined by rideders including 18-year-old neo-professional Cian Uijt Den Broeks (Bora-Hansgrohe), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Kobe Goossens (Intermarché-Wanty) and the dogged Piccoli in that move, but the American clipped away over the other side, and he began the second ascent of the Coll den Claret alone at the head of the race with 40 seconds in hand.

Behind, the peloton had splintered into shards, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic), Simon Clarke (Israel Premier Tech), Michael Matthews (BikeExchange), Uijtdebroeks, Piccoli and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) among the prominent names in the group chasing McNulty on the climb.

Such was the intensity of the race that only eight riders remained in the chasing group on the run-in, but despite the presence of Valverde, Buchmann and Wellens, they could make only modest inroads into the advantage of McNulty, who they wouldn’t see again before the finish in Palmanova.

Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates 3:57:37
2Joel Suter (Swi) Uae Team Emirates 0:01:17
3Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
4Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5Simon Clarke (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech
6Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
7Kobe Goossens (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
8Lukasz Owsian (Pol) Arkea-Samsic
9Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
10Ben Zwiehoff (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:54
11Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco 0:02:55
12Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
13Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal
14Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
15Raul Garcia Pierna (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
16Laurens Huys (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
17Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
18Davide Villella (Ita) Cofidis
19Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
20Jaakko Hänninen (Fin) AG2R Citroen Team
21Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation
22Elie Gesbert (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
23Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
24Adria Moreno Sala (Spa) Burgos-BH
25Einer Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar Team
26James Piccoli (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation
27Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe
28Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Movistar Team
29Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team 0:02:59
30Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis
31Kevin Colleoni (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco 0:07:31
32Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
33Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates
34Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
35Gotzon Martin Sanz (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
36Samuele Zoccarato (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:09:06
37Mattia Bais (Ita) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
38Umberto Marengo (Ita) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
39Mirco Maestri (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
40Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Drone Hopper - Androni Giocattoli
41Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
42Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Burgos-BH
43Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
44Biniam Girmay (Eri) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
45Daan Hoole (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
46Oier Lazkano Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team
47Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
48Davide Bais (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
49Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
50Diego Rosa (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
51Antonio Tiberi (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
52Jokin Murguialday (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:10:43
53Ruben Apers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:12:10
54Jordy Bouts (Bel) Beat Cycling
55Stijn Daemen (Ned) Beat Cycling
56Barnabás Peák (Hun) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
57Thibaut Ponsaerts (Bel) Minerva Cycling Team
58Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team
59Mateu Estelrich Cabanellas (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas
60Jens Schuermans (Bel) Beat Cycling
61Luis-Joe Lührs (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
62Marcos Jurado Rodriguez (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas
63Thomas Armstrong (GBr) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas
64Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation
65Sander De Pestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
66Simon Pellaud (Swi) Trek-Segafredo
67Santiago Umba Lopez (Col) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
68Cesare Benedetti (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
69Eduard-Michael Grosu (Rom) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
70Luca Covili (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
71Pablo Alonso Montes (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas
72Miguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Arkea-Samsic
73Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos-BH
74Pelayo Sanchez Mayo (Spa) Burgos-BH
75Thomas Joseph (Bel) Minerva Cycling Team
76Asier Etxeberria Zafra (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
77Sergio Garcia Gonzalez (Spa) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
78Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
79Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
80Omar El Gouzi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
81Igor Arrieta Lizarraga (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
82Matthew Holmes (GBr) Lotto Soudal
83Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
84Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
85Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team
86Julian Mertens (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
87Andres Camilo Ardila Ordoñez (Col) UAE Team Emirates
88Eddy Fine (Fra) Cofidis
89Thomas Champion (Fra) Cofidis
90Daniel Hoyos Largo (Col) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas
91Alejandro Ropero Molina (Spa) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
92Sergio Araiz Michel (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
93Sander Armée (Bel) Cofidis
94Diego Rubio Hernandez (Spa) Burgos-BH
95Ander Okamika Bengoetxea (Spa) Burgos-BH
96Valentin Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
97Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
98Riccardo Lucca (Ita) Work Service - Vitalcare - Dynatek
99Jon Agirre Egaña (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
100Urko Berrade Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
101Michal Schlegel (Cze) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
102Lorenzo Ginestra (Ita) Work Service - Vitalcare - Dynatek
103William Barta (USA) Movistar Team
104André Domingues (Por) Burgos-BH
105Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
106Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
107Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
108Xabier Mikel Azparren Irurzun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
109Julen Irizar Laskurain (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
110Sergio Roman Martin Galan (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
111Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
112Ivo Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
113Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar Team
114Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
115Julen Amezqueta Moreno (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
116Damien Howson (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
117Matis Louvel (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
118Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
119Héctor Carretero (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:11:30
120Jack Bauer (NZl) BikeExchange-Jayco 0:12:10
121Dion Smith (NZl) BikeExchange-Jayco
122Felix Gall (Aut) AG2R Citroen Team
123Harry Sweeny (Aus) Lotto Soudal
124Miguel Angel Ballesteros Canovas (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas 0:17:30
125Thimo Willems (Bel) Minerva Cycling Team
126Robbe Van Praet (Bel) Minerva Cycling Team
127Sven Burger (Ned) Beat Cycling
128Joan Marti Bennassar Rossello (Spa) Manuela Fundacion
129Alex Edmondson (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
130Milan Fretin (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
131Isaac Canton Serrano (Spa) Manuela Fundacion
132Gilles Borra (Bel) Minerva Cycling Team
133Jorre Debaele (Bel) Minerva Cycling Team
134Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation
135Francesco Zandri (Ita) Work Service - Vitalcare - Dynatek
136Kamil Malecki (Pol) Lotto Soudal
137Andreas Miltiadis (Cyp) Java Kiwi Atlantico
138Alex Jaime Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
139Tuur Dens (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFEnric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFLuis Mas Bonet (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFAlbert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFAlexander Cataford (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation
DNFTaj Jones (Aus) Israel Start-Up Nation
DNFMichael Schwarzmann (Ger) Lotto Soudal
DNFSam Bewley (NZl) BikeExchange-Jayco
DNFLouis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFAlexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo
DNFAlvaro Cuadros Morata (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
DNFEduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
DNFJuan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFUnai Iribar Jauregi (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFGiovanni Visconti (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
DNFKamiel Bonneu (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFJules Hesters (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFSimone Ravanelli (Ita) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
DNFJente Boons (Bel) Beat Cycling
DNFJochem Kerckhaert (Ned) Beat Cycling
DNFBram Dissel (Ned) Beat Cycling
DNFMatthew Van Schoor (Bel) Minerva Cycling Team
DNFXavier Cañellas Sanchez (Spa) Java Kiwi Atlantico
DNFGaizka Gurrutxaga Etxeberria (Spa) Java Kiwi Atlantico
DNFEdwin Yair Torres (Ven) Java Kiwi Atlantico
DNFTomoya Koyama (Jpn) Java Kiwi Atlantico
DNFAlessio Gasparini (Ita) Java Kiwi Atlantico
DNFYuki Ishihara (Jpn) Java Kiwi Atlantico
DNFJuan Diego Hoyos Cano (Col) Electro Hiper Europa - Caldas
DNFFrancisco Jose Casaus Medina (Spa) Manuela Fundacion
DNFDaniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFSantiago Mesa Pietralunga (Col) Manuela Fundacion
DNFGiovanni Bortoluzzi (Ita) Work Service - Vitalcare - Dynatek
DNFFederico Burchio (Ita) Work Service - Vitalcare - Dynatek
DNFChristian Danilo Pase (Ita) Work Service - Vitalcare - Dynatek
DNFEric Paties Montagner (Ita) Work Service - Vitalcare - Dynatek
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Barry Ryan

Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation (opens in new tab), published by Gill Books.

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