Quintana Attacks to Stage Victory as Valverde Becomes the new Race Leader

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Movistar’s Colombian climber Nairo Quintana attacked within the final kilometers of the first mountaintop finish of this year’s Volta a Catalunya. His team-mate and GC contender Alejandro Valverde finished the stage in 2nd place and became the new race leader whereas Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez finished third.

After the remaining members of the day’s breakaway was caught by SKY with 4 kilometers to go, Tom Danielson and Jurgen van den Broeck escaped one after the other and managed to make gaps around 10 seconds, but none of these attempts were successful. SKY’s “Sir” Bradley Wiggins made his move with 1km to go, but Quintana never slipped from his backwheel, and as the remaining riders approached the duo, attacked within the last 500 meters for his first stage win of the season.

“There was a strong headwind at the top of the climb and our strategy was waiting for that very last moment to attack,” told Quintana. “The attack by Wiggins took the speed up and it was really good for us to know the climb, since we knew that the hardest point came at the end of it.”

GC after Stage 3

1. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 12:45:28
2. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 4″
3. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 7″
5. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida
6. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 26″
7. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 30″
8. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky Procycling
9. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp
10. Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp 35″

Stage 3 Results

1. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 5′ 01′ 20″
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 6″
3. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
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Volta a Catalunya – TV Guide and Live Streaming Options

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Volta a Catalunya, held between 18 and 24 March, will be broadcasted live from Eurosport every day starting from 15:30 CET. Esport3, TDP and ETB are the Catalan/Spanish/Basque broadcasters of the race from Spain. There will also be delayed broadcasts from Universal Sports in the United States.

For live streaming options, check out the below links though some may be geo-location restricted;

ETBEsport 3, TDP, Eurosport (Unofficial)

Also check Stage 4 Preview.

Volta a Catalunya – Jersey Colors

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Four jerseys are awarded in Volta a Catalunya. There is no young rider’s classification but instead there is a jersey of the Catalonia National Cycling Team awarded to the best placed Catalan. General classification jersey is white and green striped whereas points jersey is white and mountains jersey is red.

Volta a Catalunya 2013 – Riders’ List

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In addition to the 19 pro tour teams, the three wildcard entries; Caja Rural from Spain, Cofidis and Sojasun from France make up this year’s Volta a Catalunya.

Last year’s winner Michael Albasini will be absent but some big GC names including Bradley Wiggins, Joaquim Rodriguez, Alejandro Valverde, Robert Gesink, Ryder Hesjedal, Michele Scarponi, Chris Horner and Thomas de Gendt are attending this year. We have seen both Rodriguez and Horner were in very good shape during Tirreno-Adriatico, whereas Scarponi was still building up his form. Elsewhere in Paris-Nice we saw Gesink struggling and abandoning in stage 6, same also true for de Gent.

Last time we saw Wiggins was in Tour of Oman in early February, where he was barely keeping up with the peloton. He was in Tenerife training till then, so his recent form is a big unknown at the moment, which is also true for last year’s surprise Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal who will be riding for the first time in a stage race this year.

The startlist of the 93th edition:
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Volta a Catalunya 2013 – Introduction

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This year’s Volta a Catalunya will be held between March 18 and 24 and has a bumpy course as usual. As it is now positioned just after Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta a Catalunya became a perfect preparation race for non-classists in mid March.

The Catalonian geography shows no mercy for the weak. Over the course of 1.175 km, 26 categorized climbs await the riders with numerous bumps on the road that may very well receive a category elsewhere. There is not one queen stage in this race but instead two of them line up one after the other. The 3rd and 4th stages of the race, both mountaintop finishes around 2000 m altitudes will offer great cycling if the weather permits it.

After routing most of Catalunya in counter-clock-wise fashion, the race finishes in Barcelona with 8 laps on a finishing circuit with the legendary Montjuic climb.