Volta a Catalunya 2013 Preview – Stage 7

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After 1.050 kilometers and numerous categorized climbs inland Catalunya, the riders are once again in the Mediterranean coast for  the final stage of Volta 2013. This pretty short stage will end in Barcelona with 8 laps on a finishing circuit with the legendary Montjuic climb.

Last time we saw Montjuic was Vuelta Espana 2012 Stage 9, 3 kilometers before the finish line. The stage was won by Philippe Gilbert, carrying Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez in his backwheel, helping him extend his lead in GC.

Before the final stage of Volta a Catalunya, Dan Martin leads the race with 17 seconds but wait for Rodriguez to attack very strong in Montjuic in front of his own crowd in his hometown.

GC Before Stage 7

1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp 26:16:22
2. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 17″
3. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 45″
4. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 54″
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 55″
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 1′ 07″
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 1′ 18″
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ 1′ 26″
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol 1′ 28″
10. Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp 1′ 30″

Profile of Montjuic Climb

Montjuic

Gerrans Wins Hectic Sprint as Dan Martin Gained Time

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Orica Greenedge’s Australian rider Simon Gerrans won the sprint and collect his second win of the season after Tour Down Under’s Willunga Hill victory. Omega Pharma Quick-Step’s Gianni Meersman, winner of the first and second stages so far in Volta a Catalunya came second and AG2R’s Samuel Dumoulin came third.

“I was far back, but I knew the guys in front of me were still lead out riders, so I had time to come around them,” told Gerrans, describing his win. “I kicked quite hard out of the corner. This gave me the opportunity to move up and use my momentum to pop out in the last couple hundred meters. I had the legs to come from behind today. It’s fantastic to get another WorldTour stage win for the team.”

Simon Gerrans is the only rider that finished the snow-affected Milan-SanRemo race and also competing in Volta a Catalunya, which started the following day.

Race leader Dan Martin, snatching a three second mid-stage time bonus, extended his lead to 17 seconds on his closest follower Joaquim Rodriguez before Sunday’s final Stage 7.

Final Kilometers

GC After Stage 6

1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp 26:16:22
2. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 17″
3. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 45″
4. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 54″
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 55″
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 1′ 07″
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 1′ 18″
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ 1′ 26″
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol 1′ 28″
10. Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp 1′ 30″

Stage 6 Results

1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 3:55:46
2. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
3. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale
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Dan Martin Seizes the Overall Lead with Solo Attack

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Garmin-Sharp’s Irish rider Dan Martin, days after his 6-month ban has expired,  clinched a monumental stage victory with a long solo attack and moved on top of the general classification. 2010 Volta winner Joaquim Rodriguez and Movistar’s rising Colombian Nairu Quintana finished the stage in 2nd and 3rd places.

Martin was the sole survivor of a 25-rider escape group formed early in the race and kept his pace all the way through the ski resort of Port Aine. With this victory, Dan Martin now leads the general classification by 10 seconds ahead of Rodriguez.

After overnight race leader Alejandro Valverde crashed and quit the race along with team-mate Eros Capecchi, Quintana became the new race leader for Movistar and stands 32 seconds away from Martin.

“It’s one of my best victories,” told Martin. “To have Ryder Hesjedal working for me in the breakaway like that all day was just incredible. I didn’t do much in the breakaway. I felt kind of bad, but it’s an incredible victory for me today. I know how difficult it is to win out a breakaway. To finally get a victory here in the mountains of my home race is very important for me.”

Final 3 Kilometers

GC After Stage 4

1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp 18:48:38
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha 10″
3. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 32″
4. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 36″
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 39″
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 51″
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 1′ 00″
8. Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp 1′ 07″
9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ 1′ 13″
10. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol 1′ 15″

Stage 4 Results

1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp 6:02:40
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha 36″
3. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
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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 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 – A Brief History

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Volta Ciclista a Catalunya ranks second behind Vuelta Espana in popularity but its history predates the latter. It is the fourth-oldest stage race in cycling history, only after Tour de France, Tour of Belgium and Giro d’Italia. The race was first organized by the Barcelona club in 1911, and this year’s edition will be its 93th.

Past winners include Mariano Canardo (7), Miguel Indurain (3), Sean Kelly (2), Emilio Rodriguez (2). Most recently, Alejandro Valverde, Joaquim Rodriguez, Michele Scarponi and Michael Albasini each clinched a title.

Tirreno-Adriatico 2013 – Race Report

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Tirreno-Adriatico attracted many big names for its 2013 edition, but eventually it was last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali victorious once again, in Astana colors this time. Team Sky’s Tour De France GC hope Chris Froome finished the podium in second place whereas Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador finished third.

In the initial team time trial stage, it was Omega Pharma Quick-Step to cross the finish line fastest, putting Mark Cavendish into the overall lead. Australian sprinter Matthew Goss from Orica GreenEdge won the first sprint stage of the tour, and it was Cannodale’s Peter Sagan outsprinting Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel in the third stage.

In the queen stage of the race, the pelaton arrived to the mountains for a mountaintop finish in Prati di Tivo, which was goodbye to Maglia Azzura for Cavendish. Froome won the stage and shaked the general standings dramatically and thanks to the TTT performance of OMQ in the first stage, Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski stepped into the overall lead. Despite having only an overnight lead and losing time afterwards, Kwiatkowski still managed to finish the race in fourth place and on top of the young riders’ classification; pretty impressive for the 22-year-old Polish.

The fifth stage had Peter Sagan’s name written all over it, but he cracked on the drag of Pietragrossa with 6 kilometers to go before the finish line and Joaquim Rodriguez was then unrivaled in Chieti. it was Froome’s turn to wear the leader’s jersey this time.

The sixth stage, a transition stage in paper, proved once again how spectacular pro cycling can be. Peter Sagan won his second stage of the tour and Vincenzo Nibali advanced to the overall lead. Nibali now had 34 seconds lead over Chris Froome before the penultimate individual time trial, which he easily defended and won the Tirreno-Adriatico for the second year in a row.

Alberto Contador led the points classification, thanks to mostly his attacks for seconds modifications in the sprint gates; and some were positioned very elegantly indeed. Damiano Cunego of Lampre-Merida won the mountains classification with his breakaway performances in the fifth and sixth stages. Finally, congratulations to Movistar, they finished on top of the teams classification with four riders in the top 40.

Andy Schleck, meanwhile again failed to finish the tour. After Tour Down Under, Tour Mediterraneen and Strade Bianchi, his retirement in Stage 6 was his fourth quit this season. So far, he only managed to finish G.P. Camaiore, 5:30 behind winner Peter Sagan; not promising at all for the grand tours ahead.

General Classification

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 28:08:17
2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 23″
3. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 52″
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 53″
5. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 54″
6. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard 1′ 21″
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 2′ 03″
8. Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team 2′ 42″
9. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 3′ 19″
10. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 3′ 35″

Points Classification

1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 27 pts
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 26 pts
3. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 25 pts

Mountains Classification

1. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida 20 pts
2. Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Team NetApp-Endura 13 pts
3. Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 10 pts

Young Rider Classification

1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 28:09:10
2. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 16′ 34″
3. Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ 16′ 47″

Teams Classification

1. Movistar Team 83:57:42
2. Sky Procycling 2′ 30″
3. Katusha 15′ 40″

Nibali defended Maglia Azzurra in Penultimate ITT

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World time trial champion Tony Martin won the 9.2km individual time trial 6 seconds ahead of Lampre-Merida’s Adriano Malori but it was Vincenzo Nibali‘s day, making it two in a row at Tirreno-Adriatico in front of his home crowd.

Nibali, yet winless in 2013 season, finished the stage in 12th place, 11 seconds slower than Chris Froome but enough to defend his Maglia Azzurra. Omega Pharma-Quickstep’s young polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski finished in 8th place, only 1 second short of his 2nd possible podium of the year, after his strong place finish in Volta ao Algarve. Katusha’s  Joaquim Rodriguez drifted away from the podium with his poor time-trialing skills but it is good to see him steadily improving over the past few years. This time, he was only 13 seconds slower than his biggest rival Alberto Contador who finished the race in third place.

“I was really, really happy with this Tirreno. It was really important to win,” said Vincenco Nibali. “This was more important than last year because of all the riders who came, like Chris Froome and Alberto Contador.”

This was Tony Martin’s second ITT win of the season and his form keeps building ahead of the bigger and harder races, where he’ll be an integral part of Omega Pharma’s; both in the classics and the grand tours. “I was looking for this day because the mountains weren’t for me, I had full focus for the day and I’m happy I won. It’s my first time here. My climbing has been getting better day by day, but I still need some time to improve. It’s still early in the season but I’m happy with the stage win. It’s been a good race for the team, ” told Tony Martin. Movistar’s Costa Rican rider Andrey Amador Bakkazakova finished the stage in 3rd place, 10 seconds slower than Martin.

Final General Classification

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 28:08:17
2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 23″
3. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 52″
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 53″
5. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 54″
6. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard 1′ 21″
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 2′ 03″
8. Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team 2′ 42″
9. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 3′ 19″
10. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 3′ 35″

Stage 7 Results

1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:10:25
2. Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida 6″
3. Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team 10″
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Sagan wins Stage, Nibali in Maglia Azzurra!

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Despite the quite strong 16-rider early breakaway today, SKY and Cannondale worked in the front all day long and as the riders approached Muro di Sant’Elpidio for the last time, whatever was left from the break finally got erased. Last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali attacked on the technical descent followed by Peter Sagan, and later joined by Stage 5 winner Joaquim Rodriguez and formed a very strong late break.

Alberto Contador as well attacked on the descent but got stuck in the chasing group. Race leader Chris Froome, losing all his SKY lieutenants, found sanctuary by catching Cadel Evans‘ group. SKY now owes Thor Hushovd a big “thank you” for his efforts in the final kilometers.

The leading trio entered the final kilometers with more than 30 seconds ahead of Contador’s group and it came to a sprint finish between them to decide the winner. Sagan easily blasted home to grab his second win in this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico.

“In the breakaway were too many riders. Sky was on the front all of the race. When I felt good to make a good stage, I told my riders t to bring back Cunego and the other riders in the breakaway,” told Sagan. “Anyway, I am very happy. Vincenzo did a very good attack on the climb and afterwards on the descent, then we did the last climb also with Joaquim who came on the front. From there it was only ten kilometres to the finish – I am very happy.”

Vincenzo Nibali took the race leader’s jersey from overnight leader Chris Froome and will wear the blue jersey – Maglia Azzurra in the penultimate time-trial.

GC after Stage 6

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astan a Pro Team 27:57:26
2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 34″
3. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 37″
4. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 48″
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 58″
6. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard 1′ 05″
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 1′ 20″
8. Pryzemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 2′ 54″
9. Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team 2′ 58″
10. Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM 3′ 08″

Stage 6 Results

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 5:45:17
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 2″
3. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
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Rodriguez Unmatched on Final Climb

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Team SKY once again worked very hard and managed to drop Peter Sagan 6 kilometers to go on the drag of Pietragrossa. Overnight race leader Michal Kwiatkowski stayed within the group until the final ramp in Chieti but Joaquim Rodriguez‘s solo break with more than a kilometer to go was the end of his jersey dream. Katusha’s Rodriguez soloed all the way to the top to collect his second win of the season, while the rest of the GC contenders upped the pace even more, cracking Kwiatkowski.

Bauke Mollema of Blanco came second, winning the sprint amongst the elite climbers and Alberto Contador came third, getting the last time bonus. Despite finishing the stage in 5th spot, Chris Froome is now the race leader as we’re heading to a spectacular 9.2 km time trial on Tuesday. For tomorrow, we’ll have a transition stage, very likely with little impact on GC. Contador, with his attacks for the sprint gates, now leads the points classification and will wear the red jersey tomorrow.

GC after Stage 5

1. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 22:11:53
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 20″
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 24″
5. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard 37″
6. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 52″
7. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 55″
8. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 57″
9. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 1′ 27″
10. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 1′ 51″

Stage 5 Results

1. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 6:06:43
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 8″
3. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
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