Volta a Catalunya race hub
Preview – Chris Froome, Peter Sagan and Richard Carapaz headline Volta a Catalunya
Marc Hirschi to make his long-awaited debut for UAE in Catalunya
Alpecin-Fenix pull out of Volta a Catalunya after three staff members test positive for COVID-19
1 Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal 4:20:15
2 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
3 Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis
4 Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Dion Smith (NZl) Team BikeExchange 0:00:16
6 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious
7 Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo
10 Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo
General classification after stage 1
1 Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal 4:20:05
2 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:00:04
3 Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis 0:00:06
4 Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:10
5 Dion Smith (NZl) Team BikeExchange 0:00:26
6 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victoriou
7 Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Tea
9 Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo
10 Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo
Hello and welcome to the opening stage of the 2021 Volta a Catalunya.
We kick off right away with a day in the hills, including a first category climb, the Port de Santa Fe de Montseny.
The riders have signed in in Banyoles and are about to kick off stage 1.
#TheWolfpack is ready to kick off one of the hardest week-long stage races of the season!Good luck, guys! pic.twitter.com/GjxjAkhmJyMarch 22, 2021
The 100th edition of the Volta a Catalunya is officially underway!
The peloton has only covered a couple of kilometres so far, with no moves getting away just yet.
There's 178km of racing coming up today, though the opening 100km isn't the toughest challenge. The first climb of the day, the second-category Port de les Guilleries comes after 103km, followed quickly by the first-category Port de Santa Fe de Montseny, while the third-category Port de Collsacreu comes 17km from the finish.
2019 Giro d'Italia champion Richard Carapaz kicks off his 2021 season today. We last saw him take second overall at the Vuelta a España.
2021, allá vamos 🤪 @INEOSGrenadiers pic.twitter.com/VOnEgtifI2March 22, 2021
The riders are currently heading along the coast to the first intermediate sprint of the day at Tossa de Mar which comes after 25km.
165km to go
A handful of riders jumped away from the peloton but nothing is sticking so far. The peloton is strung out under the high pace.
Natnael Berhane (Cofidis) and Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal) are off the front at the moment.
Gotzon Martín (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Rein Taaramäe (Intermarche-Wanty Gobert) are chasing.
160km to go
A crash in the peloton involving several riders – members of UAE Team Emirates and Deceuninck-QuickStep among them.
Up front, the four riders are together but only have around 15 seconds on the peloton.
154km to go
The leading quartet are now 45 seconds up on the peloton as they pass through the intermediate sprint.
That's Taaramäe, Berhane, Moniquet and Gotzon Martín out front.
Froome, Hirschi, Carapaz, Kuss and Sagan in action in the weeklong stage race
Berhane led the break over the interemediate sprint. They're further up the road now, and this looks like the break of the day.
140km to go
It's 4:20 for the breakaway now.
Woods and Martin lead Israel Start-Up Nation's GC challenge
Deceuninck-QuickStep's Pieter Serry abandoned the race after that crash early on.
A 44.5kph average speed for the first hour.
130km to go
The break has passed the day's second intermediate sprint at Vidreres.
Berhane led the way across that sprint, too. The gap to the peloton is 4:15 at the moment.
Here's a look at the leader's jerseys at the race. Green for the overall, red for mountains, blue for points and orange for young riders.
Who will be wearing them at the end of today?
How Stuyven dared to lose, questions about Ineos' tactics, close again for Caleb Ewan and why spring has sprung
110km to go
Quiet stuff at the moment as the break and peloton roll along the largely flat roads.
The break's advantage is down to 3:40 now, however.
A look at the day's break, with Moniquet leading the way.
An update from our man on the ground in Catalunya, Al Fotheringham. Today's finish isn't the usual slight uphill drag in Calella. Instead it's been moved out of the town to discourage the public from turning up. It's a similarly wide road to finish but it's a flat one rather than uphill.
90km to go
The riders have been out on the roads for two hours now, and they're heading towards the first climb of the day, the second-category Port de Les Guilleries. It's 3.7km long at an average of 4.5 per cent and they're around 15km from the top.
Bora-Hansgrohe are currently leading the peloton which is not really surprising given the sprinting talen on board. Arkea-Samsic follow close behind.
3:45 for the break as they move closer to the 'sprint edicio 100'.
Those sprints – which come at the 100km mark of each stage – look to be separate from the regular intermediate sprints with a separate orange-red fade jersey. They offer 3-2-1 bonus seconds, too.
Berhane takes the sprint there, too. Three bonus seconds and a €100 prize for him.
Meanwhile, Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) has abandoned.
So Berhane should have the special jersey but we're unsure if it's actually allowed in the race per UCI regulations. There's also a jersey for the top Catalan rider.
70km to go
The break crest the first climb of the day with Taaramäe leading the way ahead of Martín. 2:45 back to the peloton.
Riders tailed off the rear of the peloton here as they head towards the second classified-climb of the day.
Movistar are pushing it at the front. 1:50 to the break now.
Richie Porte is off the back, too. He stopped to get a wheel change.
64km to go
Bouhanni and Moniquet push on in the break.
The riders are currently on the 12.2km, 4 per cent Port de Santa Fe del Montseny.
Sagan drops from the peloton now.
39.7kph is the average speed after three hours of racing.
59km to go
Under a minute for the break now as the riders enter a dip in the climb before the road rears up again.
Chris Froome, aiming for a Tour de France win in four months' time, is towards the rear of the peloton with 4km to go of this climb.
He had this to say at the start of the day: "I know I’m not going to be personally fighting for the victory here"
Moniquet fights on from the breake. Just 30 seconds up on the Movistar-led peloton.
56km to go
2km to the top of the climb, Moniquet is past the snowline.
Moniquet reaches the top of the climb alone, grabbing the points over the top. Five points for him to go with one earlier on, so the KOM jersey for the neo-pro.
The peloton crosses 20 seconds later.
And it's over for him now. Movistar plough on at the front. No breakaway remaining.
50km to go
Movistar continue to lead down the descent. It's a long one after another short uphill drag.
Froome is detached on the small rise.
44km to go
No change in situation up front as Movistar continue to lead. No attacks and we haven't seen who has caught back on yet.
The riders are descending through a heavily wooded area so we're not seeing too much else apart from Movistar leading the way on the front.
Movistar still controlling, now with four on the front. Ineos just behind.
Sagan isn't in the peloton but we're not sure where other fast finishers like Dion Smith, Max Kanter and Jordi Meeus are. We haven't seen them getting dropped, in any case...
30km to go
The peloton reach the bottom of the descent now and they're out of the trees.
Now, on the flatter roads, some riders try some attacks and changes of pace.
26km to go
Nothing sticking at the moment. Not sure if it will at this point...
A group of around 15 actually has got a small gap now. Geraint Thomas, Giulio Ciccone and Matej Mohoric are among them. It is a very small gap, though.
23km to go
Another small group has made it across but the peloton is just a handful of back.
Astana's Luis León Sánchez tries a move.
More riders are scattered around in a few moves but the peloton is still close behind.
Esteban Chaves among a few riders making a move.
Sánchez has Lennard Kämna, Andreas Kron, Remy Rochas with him now.
20km to go
CIccone tries again.
The four leaders have 25 seconds now!
Movistar caugh the break with 50km to go, led the way down the descent. and now have no control and nobody out front. Tactics.
18km to go
40 seconds for the attackers.
The men up front are closing in on the day's final climb, a third-cat test. They're working well together so far.
A variety of teams on the front of the peloton, including BikeExchange, Trek-Segafredo, Movistar...
Sánchez leads Rochas and Kämna over the top of the hill. Chaves leads the peloton.
Ciccone made a push over the top. The gap is 30 seconds.
The attackers sweep down the descent. It is largely downhill to the end, though it's gradual rather than a super fast, aero-tuck descent.
Chaves continues to push in the chase. He has a small gap on the peloton.
12km to go
The gap is 26 seconds.
Back up to 30 seconds as they wind their way down though a small town.
10km to go
The gap only seems to be extending now. 37 seconds as the break reach the final 10km.
BikeExchange have another rider on the front of the peloton after Chaves dropped away. Nobody else is doing any turns.
8km to go
The attackers are flying along. Still at 40 seconds with just a single BikeExchange man doing the work.
6km to go
Still 41 seconds. EF's Jonathan Caicedo goes to the front of the peloton to help out briefly.
5km to go
A few more teams move up – Ineos, Bahrain, Trek. Seem like too little, too late at this point...
3.5km to go
It's still a 38-second gap.
3km to go
35 seconds now. The break keeps working together. Ineos and Trek still on the front of the chase.
Kämna makes a push at the front. His three breakmates follow.
1.5km to go
30 seconds now.
1km to go
Under the flamme rouge and Marc Soler has a bike problem in the peloton.
Kämna leads it out ahead of Sánchez.
Rochas goes first!
Sánchez and Kron go next and edge past.
It's Kron! The Lotto Soudal rider just beats Sánchez for the win.
A great day for Lotto.
The peloton crossed the line at around 15-16 seconds. Kämna was fourth so no bonus seconds for him.
That's the KOM jersey, leader's jersey and the stage win for the Belgian team.
WAUW! 🎉🎉🎉Andreas Kron takes a first win for Lotto Soudal and a first victory on WorldTour level! 😱#VoltaCatalunya100 pic.twitter.com/sF8XGojPwmMarch 22, 2021
Dion Smith led the peloton home for fifth, 16 seconds down.
Here's what Kron had to say after the finish...
"It's fantastic. It's my first WorldTour stage race and my first WorldTour stage win.
"It's crazy. It's fantastic and I cannot say anything. It's just fantastic. We rode fantastic as a team today. It's tough day. We had Sylvain in the break and in the mountains jersey today."
More to come from Catalunya later on, including news from Marc Hirschi and Hugh Carthy.
That's all from us today. Be sure to check back for the full report, news from the race, plus live coverage of tomorrow's stage 2 time trial.
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