Volta a Catalunya: Valverde wins stage 2 in Valls

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won stage 2 of the Volta a Catalunya in Valls, west of Barcelona, using his fast finish to beat Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) and Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) after surviving the late Coll de Lilla climb and a series of tight turns.

McCarthy looked set to win the sprint, but Valverde came from behind along the barriers to take victory by a bike length. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) impressed in the sprint taking fourth, with Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) fifth.

Stage 1 winner Alvaro Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors) was distanced on the late climb, and so Valverde also took the race lead thanks to time bonuses. He leads McCarthy by four seconds, with Impey third at six seconds.

Quintana is fourth at 11 seconds as Movistar prepare to defend the race lead during the first mountain stage of this year's Volta a Catalunya up to the Vallter 2000 ski resort. Valverde wanted to enjoy his surprise victory but is also ready to defend the leader's white and green leader's jersey.

"It was a great day, there was a lot of pressure on us because the headwind slowed the race but the team worked extremely well," he explained.

"The team kept me up front, and we picked up the intermediate bonus but the plan wasn't really to win a stage like this, and when it happens you have to go for it. This win is for my son Ivan, who broke his collarbone playing football.

"Tomorrow is going to be a very tough day. Now I've got the lead and so we're going to try and keep it."

A long ride into a headwind

The 175km stage rolled out of Mataro', east of Barcelona under sunny skies, with rider facing a day in the rolling hills behind the Catalunya capital. Valverde won in Valls in 2015. Wout Poels (Team Sky) was the last rider to win a stage in Valls in 2016, with the town also the home to the late Xavier Tondo, who died tragically in a freak accident when a garage door fell on him in 2011.

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) was the only non-starter as he continued to struggle with bronchitis and was withdrawn by his team. With the first big mountain stage to Vallter 2000 coming on Wednesday and a constant headwind, the riders were cautious about spending energy and were happy when Igor Merino (Burgos), Antonio Molina (Caja Rural) and Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi) got away virtually from the drop of the flag to form the early break of the day.

Their lead was up to 3:00 after just 15km with Quick-Step Floors leading the chase to defend stage 1 winner Alvaro Hodeg's lead. The 22-year-old British neo-pro, James Knox, was again given the job of setting tempo on the front of the peloton, and he helped keep the break under control.

The stage rolled along at an average of just 36km/h due to the headwind, with the only disruption coming with 70km to go when a level crossing forced the race commissaires to stop the break and the peloton. The trio was allowed to open their 2:10 again, despite the peloton trying to set off sooner than the commissaires wished. They were forced to stand in the middle of the road to stop them.

Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) was 60km to go, apparently due to a knee problem, with Andrey Grivko (Astana) the only rider keen to liven up the race by jumping across to the break, as the gap came down and the race passed through snow-covered but still sunny fields. However he then decided to attack the break, and with the Movistar team leading the chase, the break was soon caught back on the long gradual descent.

The 22-year-old French man Cyril Barthe (Euskadi) took off alone with 41km to go but was left to hang out front. He took the final intermediate sprint in Sarral. Interestingly, Valverde and Nairo Quintana took second and third to pick up the two and one second time bonuses, which could prove vital later in the week.

The late Coll de Lilla climb was steep but fast on wide roads and was raced hard, with Mitchelton-Scott pushing the pace thanks to Rob Power and Carlos Verona. That proved too much for Hodeg, who was spat out of the peloton with 12km to go. Other sprinters soon followed him as the pace finally turned high.

Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale) tried an attack over the summit, but the pace proved too high on the descent, ensuring a high-speed, hectic sprint finish. Bahrain-Merida seemed in charge and tried to lead out Enrico Gasparotto, but Valverde was lurking in the wheels and came through along the barriers to win.

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Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team4:41:50
2Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-ScottRow 1 - Cell 2
3Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-HansgroheRow 2 - Cell 2
4Egan Bernal (Col) Team SkyRow 3 - Cell 2
5Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 4 - Cell 2
6Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 5 - Cell 2
7José Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 6 - Cell 2
8Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team SkyRow 7 - Cell 2
9Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-SegafredoRow 8 - Cell 2
10Alex Howes (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 9 - Cell 2
11Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step FloorsRow 11 - Cell 2
13Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 12 - Cell 2
14Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-MuriasRow 13 - Cell 2
15Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Astana Pro TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 15 - Cell 2
17Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Luis Guillermo Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 17 - Cell 2
19Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 18 - Cell 2
20Georg Preidler (Aut) Groupama-FDJRow 19 - Cell 2
21Elie Gesbert (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 20 - Cell 2
22Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team SunwebRow 21 - Cell 2
23George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-JumboRow 22 - Cell 2
24Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-ScottRow 23 - Cell 2
25Sergio Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 24 - Cell 2
26Jordi Simon Casulleras (Spa) Burgos BHRow 25 - Cell 2
27Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 26 - Cell 2
28Jesper Hansen (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 27 - Cell 2
29Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 29 - Cell 2
31Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-ScottRow 30 - Cell 2
32Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 31 - Cell 2
33Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-ScottRow 32 - Cell 2
34Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Team SunwebRow 33 - Cell 2
35Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 34 - Cell 2
36Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 35 - Cell 2
37Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-MuriasRow 36 - Cell 2
38Steff Cras (Bel) Katusha-AlpecinRow 37 - Cell 2
39Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension DataRow 38 - Cell 2
40Arthur Vichot (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 39 - Cell 2
41Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 40 - Cell 2
42Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 41 - Cell 2
43Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 42 - Cell 2
44Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La MondialeRow 43 - Cell 2
45Stef Clement (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 44 - Cell 2
46Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 45 - Cell 2
47Carlos Verona (Spa) Mitchelton-ScottRow 46 - Cell 2
48Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team EmiratesRow 47 - Cell 2
49Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 48 - Cell 2
50Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La MondialeRow 49 - Cell 2
51Amael Moinard (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 50 - Cell 2
52Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 51 - Cell 2
53Louis Meintjes (RSA) Dimension DataRow 52 - Cell 2
54Aldemar Reyes Ortega (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 53 - Cell 2
55Rob Power (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 54 - Cell 2
56Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 55 - Cell 2
57Ricardo Vilela (Por) Manzana PostobonRow 56 - Cell 2
58Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
59Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 58 - Cell 2
60Pierre Rolland (Fra) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 59 - Cell 2
61James Shaw (GBr) Lotto SoudalRow 60 - Cell 2
62Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-SegafredoRow 61 - Cell 2
63Nathan Brown (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 62 - Cell 2
64Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 63 - Cell 2
65Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 64 - Cell 2
66Cristian Rodriguez Martin (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 65 - Cell 2
67Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team EmiratesRow 66 - Cell 2
68Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 67 - Cell 2
69Jan Hirt (Cze) Astana Pro TeamRow 68 - Cell 2
70Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step FloorsRow 69 - Cell 2
71Floris De Tier (Bel) LottoNL-JumboRow 70 - Cell 2
72Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 71 - Cell 2
73Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing TeamRow 72 - Cell 2
74Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 74 - Cell 2
76Jhojan Orlando Garcia Sosa (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 75 - Cell 2
77Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step FloorsRow 76 - Cell 2
78Pablo Torres Muiño (Spa) Burgos BHRow 77 - Cell 2
79Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 78 - Cell 2
80Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Team SkyRow 79 - Cell 2
81Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 80 - Cell 2
82Fabio Duarte (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 81 - Cell 2
83Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Trek-SegafredoRow 82 - Cell 2
84Joaquim Silva (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 83 - Cell 2
85Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Katusha-AlpecinRow 84 - Cell 2
86Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJRow 85 - Cell 2
87Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 86 - Cell 2
88Ben O'Connor (Aus) Dimension DataRow 87 - Cell 2
89Nathan Earle (Aus) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 88 - Cell 2
90Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-SegafredoRow 89 - Cell 2
91Sebastian Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 90 - Cell 2
92Wilmar Andres Paredes Zapata (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 91 - Cell 2
93David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team SkyRow 92 - Cell 2
94Ruben Plaza (Spa) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 93 - Cell 2
95Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:00:49
96Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team EmiratesRow 95 - Cell 2
97Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 96 - Cell 2
98Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-SegafredoRow 97 - Cell 2
99Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 98 - Cell 2
100Dorian Godon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 99 - Cell 2
101Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 101 - Cell 2
103Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 102 - Cell 2
104Clement Chevrier (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 103 - Cell 2
105Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Katusha-AlpecinRow 104 - Cell 2
106Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-AlpecinRow 105 - Cell 2
107Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 106 - Cell 2
108Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Team SunwebRow 107 - Cell 2
109Daniel Turek (Cze) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 108 - Cell 2
110Fabricio Ferrari Barcelo (Uru) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 109 - Cell 2
111Tom Bohli (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 110 - Cell 2
112Jhonatan Narvaez (Ecu) Quick-Step FloorsRow 111 - Cell 2
113Joe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 112 - Cell 2
114Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension DataRow 113 - Cell 2
115Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Katusha-AlpecinRow 114 - Cell 2
116Silvio Herklotz (Ger) Burgos BH0:01:25
117Jorge Cubero Galvez (Spa) Burgos BH0:01:27
118Julen Irizar Laskurain (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-MuriasRow 117 - Cell 2
119Andrey Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro TeamRow 118 - Cell 2
120Willie Smit (RSA) Katusha-AlpecinRow 119 - Cell 2
121Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 120 - Cell 2
122Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team SunwebRow 121 - Cell 2
123Jetse Bol (Ned) Manzana PostobonRow 122 - Cell 2
124Jai Hindley (Aus) Team SunwebRow 123 - Cell 2
125Hernan Ricardo Aguirre Caipa (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 124 - Cell 2
126Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 125 - Cell 2
127François Bidard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 126 - Cell 2
128Michael Mørkøv (Den) Quick-Step FloorsRow 127 - Cell 2
129Jose Manuel Diaz (Spa) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 128 - Cell 2
130Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension DataRow 129 - Cell 2
131Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar TeamRow 130 - Cell 2
132Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 131 - Cell 2
133Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 132 - Cell 2
134Jérémy Roy (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 133 - Cell 2
135Hector Saez Benito (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-MuriasRow 134 - Cell 2
136Rory Sutherland (Aus) UAE Team Emirates0:01:34
137Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-MuriasRow 136 - Cell 2
138Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos BHRow 137 - Cell 2
139Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension DataRow 138 - Cell 2
140Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 139 - Cell 2
141Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 140 - Cell 2
142Igor Anton (Spa) Dimension DataRow 141 - Cell 2
143Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Bora-HansgroheRow 142 - Cell 2
144Michael Storer (Aus) Team SunwebRow 143 - Cell 2
145Igor Merino Kortazar (Spa) Burgos BHRow 144 - Cell 2
146Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 145 - Cell 2
147Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 146 - Cell 2
148Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 147 - Cell 2
149Bram Tankink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:02:39
150Roy Goldstein (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy0:03:17
151Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 150 - Cell 2
152Alvaro Hodeg (Col) Quick-Step FloorsRow 151 - Cell 2
153Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 152 - Cell 2
154Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 153 - Cell 2
155Florian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 154 - Cell 2
156Benoit Jarrier (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 155 - Cell 2
157Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 156 - Cell 2
158Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 157 - Cell 2
159James Knox (GBr) Quick-Step FloorsRow 158 - Cell 2
160Enrique Sanz Unzue (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-MuriasRow 159 - Cell 2
161Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 160 - Cell 2
162Philip Deignan (Irl) Team SkyRow 161 - Cell 2
163Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek-SegafredoRow 162 - Cell 2
164Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 163 - Cell 2
165Diego Rubio Hernandez (Spa) Burgos BHRow 164 - Cell 2
166Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 165 - Cell 2
167Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 166 - Cell 2
168Jérémy Maison (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 167 - Cell 2
169William Bonnet (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:03:56
170Max Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb0:06:16
171Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-MuriasRow 170 - Cell 2
172Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-HansgroheRow 171 - Cell 2
173Antonio Molina Canet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 172 - Cell 2
DNFRobert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 173 - Cell 2
DNSNacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 174 - Cell 2
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Mountain 1 (Cat. 3) Por de la Font de la Cera, km. 16.7
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Igor Merino Kortazar (Spa) Burgos BH3pts
2Antonio Molina Canet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Mountain 2 (Cat. 2) Coll De Lilla, km. 165
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale5pts
2Carlos Verona (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team2Row 2 - Cell 3
4Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team1Row 3 - Cell 3
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Intermediate sprint 1 - Igualada, km. 104.7
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Antonio Molina Canet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA3pts
2Igor Merino Kortazar (Spa) Burgos BH2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Intermediate sprint 2 - Sarral, km. 146.4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias3pts
2Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Bahrain