Race report

Jonas Iversby Hvideberg takes race lead after day in the break at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

After yesterday’s opening stage for the puncheurs, today’s finale looked more suited for the sprinters with 202 kilometres from L’Escala to Perpignan awaited the bunch. Sitting in third place overall and in the lead of the KOM competition, the team hatched a plan to see if the peloton were willing to let Jonas Iversby Hvideberg infiltrate the break and claim bonus seconds, to potentially move into the race lead.

With two riders rolling off the front immediately and the peloton fanning across the road, Iversby Hvideberg squeezed his way through a gap and launched across to the duo. The three riders worked well together and built up a lead that reached a maximum of five minutes, which ultimately allowed Iversby Hvideberg to bolster his lead in the KOM jersey and crucially, take five bonus seconds and move into the virtual GC lead.

Approaching the final 25 kilometres the race was all back together and there was a nervousness in the air due to the swirling winds, with the bunch splitting into three distinct groups. Iversby Hvideberg and Henri Vandenabeele made it into the front split for the team, with Vandenabeele doing a brilliant job of keeping Iversby Hvideberg safe. The sprinters in the group fought it out for the win with Vandenabeele crossing the line in ninth – his first WorldTour top ten – and with Iversby Hvideberg in the group; it meant he moved into the lead of all four jersey competitions for the team.

“It was another good day for me and the team here in Catalunya,” expressed Iversby Hvideberg at the finish. “We knew there was a chance I could take the GC jersey but we also didn’t know how other teams would react to it. I made quite a small break which then I knew I had a chance. We didn’t go too hard and I was able to save my legs and take the sprints I needed for the seconds. I also tried to stay as cool as possible and we could take some KOM points as well. We were caught inside 30 kilometres to go and we were then all in for making the first split in the echelons. I was able to get a good position for that with Henri helping me a lot to make the first split which was crucial to not lose any seconds. It’s an amazing day for me and the team and it shows that we’re here in a good way, and we can enjoy the last five days of racing. Tomorrow I’ll just try and enjoy the experience of being in the leaders jersey and everything around it.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts continued: “Today looked on paper to be a bunch sprint finish, with some challenges along the way including twisting coastal roads and wind in the final. Most teams were content to let a small group go in the beginning. With Jonas in the position he was in, we spoke about daring to try it and go with the group and look for the bonus seconds, and put himself in contention for the overall leaders jersey at the end of the stage. He dared to try and he could pick up the seconds to take it and consolidate the mountain jersey lead too. Coming into the final it was quite hectic with some crosswinds. Jonas did a great job and also particularly Henri who looked after him and put him in position there, keeping him in contention. As it panned out with the final bonuses on the line, Jonas managed to grab that leaders jersey overall. It’s a nice result for the effort him and the guys have put into it and motivates us for the stages to come.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 GROVES Kaden Team BikeExchange - Jayco 4:44:28 50
2 BAUHAUS Phil Bahrain - Victorious ,, 20
3 HOFSTETTER Hugo Team Arkéa Samsic ,, 8
9 VANDENABEELE Henri Team DSM ,, -
14 HVIDEBERG Jonas Iversby Team DSM ,, -
78 PEDERSEN Casper Team DSM 0:33 -
95 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM ,, -
98 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM ,, -
118 BRENNER Marco Team DSM ,, -
160 MAYRHOFER Marius Team DSM 21:52 -