Race report

Jonas Iversby Hvideberg moves into the KOM and young rider jerseys after some aggressive team riding

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

The opening day of action at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya saw the peloton take on a deceptively difficult stage, made even more challenging by aggressive racing and fowl weather conditions. Right from the flag drop the team were active at the head of the bunch, trying to infiltrate the day’s breakaway with Mark Donovan and Jonas Iversby Hvideberg both going clear in small moves that were brought back. The infernal pace continued for the opening 50 kilometres before the elastic eventually snapped and Marco Brenner made it into the break of six.

Building up an advantage of over three minutes, the race quickly sparked back into life again as the riders blasted through a crosswind section and a group of 19 joined Brenner’s breakaway out front. As a result, the tempo stayed high with the gap hovering at around 40 seconds before eventually things were all back together. With the peloton fanning across the road more attacks were inevitable and this time it was Iversby Hvideberg who went clear in a group of six for the team, just as the rain began to lash down.

Working well together, Iversby Hvideberg’s group built up a slender one minute advantage but the peloton always kept them close. Nonetheless, Iversby Hvideberg fought over the climbs and through the intermediate sprints, picking up points and bonus seconds along the way. Eventually the group was caught and a reduced uphill sprint finish was inevitable, with Henri Vandenabeele leading the team home. Pushing all the way to the line, Iversby Hvideberg came across the finish within the peloton and as a result moves into third on GC and the lead of the KOM and best young rider competitions after the opening day.

Photo Credit: DirectVelo/Nicolas Mabyle

“Today was a really nice day for the team,” explained Iversby Hvideberg at the finish. “We were really sharp in the start, covering the moves and working well together. Marco then made the breakaway so we were able to relax in the bunch. Then there were some echelons and the pace was picked up and Marco was brought back. In the last hour I saw another chance to breakaway as I was feeling good. When we were there we went for the intermediate sprints and the KOM points because we were in the front anyway. After the stage I could take the KOM jersey and youth jersey which is really nice. Now it sets the stage for the rest of the race. I think we have a lot of good racing left to do here together and it’s nice to start off in this way.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “We wanted try to animate today’s race knowing it was going to be a challenging stage with difficult weather conditions, and one that could be hard to control for the sprint. After a long fight Marco got into a good group of six riders but with some action in the crosswinds through the middle, the race got reshuffled and going into the final hour it had regrouped. Directly Jonas played the next card for us and got into another group of six riders. He managed to pick up some bonus seconds and KOM points, and they had a lead going over the final climb but unfortunately some teams got organised to bring it back together. It wasn’t meant to be today that the break would go to the line so we missed that top stage result, but we put up a good fight and it was great to see the guys commit and go for it. With his bonus seconds, it also puts Jonas into the KOM and young rider jersey, along with third on GC, which is a nice reward for the guys after the effort they all put in today.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 MATTHEWS Michael Team BikeExchange - Jayco 3:47:11 50
2 COLBRELLI Sonny Bahrain - Victorious ,, 20
3 PACHER Quentin Groupama - FDJ ,, 8
38 VANDENABEELE Henri Team DSM ,, -
70 HVIDEBERG Jonas Iversby Team DSM ,, -
77 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM ,, -
109 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 8:56 -
119 PEDERSEN Casper Team DSM 10:46 -
156 BRENNER Marco Team DSM 16:54 -
164 MAYRHOFER Marius Team DSM 17:07 -