Simon Yates wins Volta a Catalunya 2018 closing stage. Mitchelton-Scott struggled for the victory and went clear twice in order to raise the hands to the sky on the finish line set in Barcelona after 158 kilometers of racing. At first he got in the lead with over 25 kilometers remaining together with seven riders and, once chased by the peloton, went clear again and joined the breakaway for the second time with 14 kilometers to go. Yates attacked decisively on the last climb to Montjuic and crossed the finish line solo. Marc Soler (Movistar), who sitted in the lead together with Yates, finished in second whereas Pierre Roger Latour (Ag2r La Mondiale) wins the bunch sprint. Just before the last lap to be hit Egan Bernal (Team Sky) crashed heavily and was forced to abandon the Volta a Catalunya. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) gets the general classification.
Today’s 158 kilometers of racing have been terrific. The stage has been exciting since the beginning and the final laps around Montjuic hill in Barcelona have been tough: every time the road went up was a good chance to be taken and each meter of the race has been a good one to attack. Jeremy Maison (Fortuneo-Samsic), Nicolas Mas and Max Schachmann (Quick Step Floors) tried solo in turns to go clear in the first two hours of racing but the crazy speed set by the peloton didn’t allow a group to open a gap until a pack of eight – soon joined by two riders – attacked with 63 kilometers remaining. Jhonatan Narvaez (Quick Step Floors), Enric Mas (Quick Step Floors), Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), Johannes Frolhinger (Sunweb), Pierre Rolland (EF-Drapac), Willem Smit (Katusha-Alpecin), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida), Bram Tankink (Lotto Nl-Jumbo), Pablo Torres (Burgos-BH) and Nicholas Schultz (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) were part of the breakaway.
The leaders didn’t succeed in opening a wide gap and, with 30 kilometers remaining, the situation was brought into chaos. Both in the chase and in the lead several attacks completely changed the situation. Marc Soler, Sergio Henao and Simon Yates moved up to the lead and most of the former men in the break dropped. Valverde attacked twice and Egan Bernal followed the Spaniard both the times and, as soon as they joined the break, Mohoric, Yates, Soler and Carlos Verona, who moved up to the lead just before Valverde, attacked. Mohoric tried to go solo twice – he attacked last with 9 kilometers to go – but his attempts didn’t last long.
At the meantime Mohoric was caught for the second time, a heavy crash occurred in the bunch: José Joaquim Rojas slipped and involved Daniel Martin and Egan Bernal in the crash. The Colombian youngster hit his back of the road violently and was forced to give up and end his brilliant 2018 Volta a Catalunya with only 9 kilomters remaining. On the last uphill to Montjuic – with 6 kilometers remaining – Marc Soler attacked and Simon Yates followed the Catalan: as soon as the Brit chased the Movistar rider Yates went clear and didn’t allowed Soler a chance to be reeled in. In facts Yates never turned back and kept pushing until the finish line, keeping a 20″ gap on the group. Yates in this way got the second seasonal victory and Alejandro Valverde won the GC over his teammate Nairo Quintana and Pierre Roger latour (Ag2r la Mondiale).
Volta a Catalunya 2018 Stage 7 results
1 YATES Simon Mitchelton-Scott 3:28:04
2 SOLER Marc Movistar Team + 0:13
3 LATOUR Pierre AG2R La Mondiale + 0:18
4 PANTANO Jarlinson Trek – Segafredo ,,
5 MCCARTHY Jay BORA – hansgrohe ,,
6 MOHORIC Matej Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team ,,
7 KRUIJSWIJK Steven Team LottoNL-Jumbo ,,
8 BARGUIL Warren Fortuneo – Samsic ,,
9 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team ,,
10 BENNETT George Team LottoNL-Jumbo ,,
Volta a Catalunya 2018 General Classification
1 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team 28:25:07
2 QUINTANA Nairo Movistar Team + 0:29
3 LATOUR Pierre AG2R La Mondiale + 0:47
4 YATES Simon Mitchelton-Scott ,,
5 SOLER Marc Movistar Team + 1:10
6 BENNETT George Team LottoNL-Jumbo + 1:23
7 MARTINEZ Daniel Felipe Team EF Education First-Drapac + 1:29
8 KRUIJSWIJK Steven Team LottoNL-Jumbo + 1:31
9 HANSEN Jesper Astana Pro Team ,,
10 PINOT Thibaut Groupama – FDJ + 1:34