Volta a Catalunya: Stage 2

Cycling

ByTheMinCycle

Good afternoon! It’s me, Robyn, and I’m back again to live report the second and third stages of the Volta a Catalunya.

As live coverage is about to begin, the situation on the road currently is: Molina (Caja Rural-RGA), Bizkarra (Euskadi-Murias) and Merino (Burgos-BH) are the riders in the break, with a 3-minute advantage ahead of the peloton. 90km to go.

The first stage was Quick-Step’s Hodeg’s to win, not only taking the first victory for a neo-pro this season, but being the first Colombian in five years to win a stage at this race, AND the 4th Colombian ever to don the leader’s jersey. Impressive for anyone, especially a 21-year-old!

Here’s a preview of today’s Mataró > Valls, 175km stage from the Catalunya Twitter feed. Both places have been features of both previous editions of the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta a España. If you cast your minds back to the 2013 Vuelta, the 13th stage from Valls > Castelldefeles saw a then-21-year-old Barguil take the win. These 21 year olds!

Stage 2 sees riders scale the Cat 3 Port de la Font de Cera climb, followed by 2 sprints to contest, and the Cat 2 Coll de Lilla climb before the finish. Bouhanni is one rider who won't be joining in the fun today, the Cofidis sprinter has abandoned due to illness.

All 3 riders mentioned are still in the break, with Molina taking 3 points from the Font de Cera climb, followed by Bizkarra on 2, and Merino on 1. The all-Spanish trio are still ahead of the peloton by 3'02", 84km to go.

Valverde (Movistar) won the 2017 edition of the Volta a Catalunya, with the Spaniard currently sitting 9th in GC after yesterday's opening stage, 10 seconds behind Quick-Step's Hodeg.

Of course, Valverde is alongside co-leader Quintana this year. The two have been a topic of leader role conversations for some time now, but Quintana admitted Valverde's form could be better than his coming into the race, with Valverde already winning the Abu Dhabi Tour and the Volta a la Comunitat Valencia this year. 78km to go, with a 2'48" gap to the 3 breakaway riders.

Who else can challenge Movistar? Fabio Aru seems confident, with the Italian arriving at the Volta a Catalunya fresh from some aggressive riding on climbs at Tirreno-Adriatico. With a Cat 2 to scale before the finish, can we see him contend for the stage today? Here's the teammates who'll be helping him:

73km to go now, with the breakaway trio's gap decreasing to 2'16".