Alvaro Hodeg (Quick Step Floors) takes the sprint and gets Volta a Catalunya 2018 stage 1 success. The Colombian youngster takes the second victory in a weektime after last Friday’s success in Belgium at Handzame Classic. This is actually the second victory as a professional rider for Hodeg, the first achieved in a World Tour race. Quick Step Floors sprinter wins ahead of Bora-hansgrohe duo composed of Sam Bennett and Jay Mc Carthy after a perfect lead-out along the last 3 kilometers of racing accomplished by Michael Morkov. The Dane, together with Roberto Ferrari (UAE Team Emirates) who finished in fifth, completes the top-5. Alvaro Hodeg is of course also the first overall jersey holder.
The first stages of racing are always the part where the most brave riders come out. Six men break out the peloton with only a handful of kilometers done. These are Tom Bohli (BMC Racing), Jesus Ezquerra (Burgos-BH), Daniel Turek (Israel Cycling Academy), Antonio Molina (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) and Andriy Grivko (Astana), soon joined by Markel Irizar (trek-Segafredo). Mild temperature and sunny wheather conditions enticed the group to allow the breakaway to go clear and enjoy the first hour of racing. After 38 kilometers of racing the break sitted 3’08” ahead of the peloton. It is to be noted that Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) crashed soon after the real start was given and scratched hard on the left side: the Italian, by the way, chased the peloton in a while.
The sprinters’ teams weren’t like granting the leaders a wide gap, so Bora-hansgrohe and Cofidis together with Movistar moved to the front of the peloton and controlled the gap, which floated around 2’15” until the race hit the last 40 kilometers of racing. Andriy Grivko, in the meantime, got 5 bonus seconds by finishing in first and in second the two intermediate sprints along today’s route. The Ukrainian, together with Bohli, were the first to give up with over 27 kilometers to go. Jesus Ezquerra, otherwise, kept pushing in the lead and sitted solo in the head of the race until he crossed the sign indicating the last 20 kilometers of racing.
Wilmar Paredes (Manzana-Postobon) counter-attacked as soon as the group chased Ezquerra but his try was presumably aimed to get the KOM sprint of the Port de Collsacreu and in this manner wearing the mountain jersey. The whole Movistar team led the group throughout all the time of descending towards the coast and set a high tempo that put the peloton into a single-file line. With just three kilometers remaining Quick Step Floors moved up to the front of the bunch and made a perfect lead-out for his sprinter Alvaro Hodeg, who didn’t betrayed his teammates.
Volta a Catalunya Stage 1 Results
1 HODEG Álvaro José Quick-Step Floors 3:39:31
2 BENNETT Sam BORA – hansgrohe ,,
3 MCCARTHY Jay BORA – hansgrohe ,,
4 MØRKØV Michael Quick-Step Floors ,,
5 FERRARI Roberto UAE-Team Emirates ,,
6 BONIFAZIO Niccolo Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team ,,
7 BOUHANNI Nacer Cofidis, Solutions Crédits ,,
8 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team ,,
9 MOHORIC Matej Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team ,,
10 DEMPSTER Zakkari Israel Cycling Academy ,,
Volta a Catalunya 2018 General Classification
1 HODEG Álvaro José Quick-Step Floors 3:39:21
2 BENNETT Sam BORA – hansgrohe + 0:04
3 GRIVKO Andrei Astana Pro Team + 0:05
4 MCCARTHY Jay BORA – hansgrohe + 0:06
5 MØRKØV Michael Quick-Step Floors + 0:10
6 FERRARI Roberto UAE-Team Emirates ,,
7 BONIFAZIO Niccolo Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team ,,
8 BOUHANNI Nacer Cofidis, Solutions Crédits ,,
9 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team ,,
10 MOHORIC Matej Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team ,,