Race report

Animating the race and on the attack once again at Volta Catalunya

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

Rolling out of Perpignan this morning, Jonas Iversby Hvideberg looked resplendent in the race leader’s jersey as the peloton embarked on stage three of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya; as the first mountain stage of the week lay ahead of them and the classic La Molina finish.

It was a fast start to the day with several attacks before eventually a four rider break got clear, with the team represented in the attack for the third stage in a row as Casper Pedersen infiltrated the move. As the kilometres ticked by their advantage increased to over eight minutes before it began to steadily fall throughout the day. Giving it his all in the break, Pedersen was eventually caught on the final ascent of La Molina, where Iversby Hvideberg eventually had to relinquish the bunch after a great day out in the leader’s jersey.

With the breakaway almost caught, Henri Vandenabeele launched a stinging attack out of the peloton, bridging across to the remnants of the move and going clear himself. Pushing on out front, eventual stage winner O’Connor jumped from the peloton over to Vandenabeele where he continued to drive the pace. Instead of going into the red after making his initial move, Vandenabeele returned to the reduced bunch, where he rode ably all the way to the finish with the rest of the climbers.

“It was the first mountain day today in Catalunya,” explained Vandenabeele. “We looked for opportunities on the second last climb but we decided it wouldn’t be smart to bridge the gap so we saved energy for the final. On the last ascent I attacked at the bottom of the climb. Maybe it was a bit early but we tried it and then I could hang on with the favourites to the end. It was a great job from the guys, who kept me in position all day long.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “We had the first day in the mountains here. We had Jonas in the leaders jersey but obviously it would be a tough challenge to defend that. Our objective was to get our climbers ahead of the race, ride aggressively and try to get something out of the day. After a fight at the start we had Casper in a small group of four, with the aim being to have him as a bridge if things opened up again. It was a fast and hard pace all day and the first moment that came to open up the race was the foot of the last climb. It stalled for a moment and Henri took the opportunity to try and get a jump on the favourites there. It was not a bad move but in the end the group came back, but it was still a super strong ride from him to stay with the favourites. Hats off to Henri for trying it and some good support from the guys to put him in position today. Unfortunately, we lost Marius today, but the guys are looking forward to another mountain stage tomorrow.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 O'CONNOR Ben AG2R Citroën Team 4:12:51 50
2 AYUSO Juan UAE Team Emirates 0:06 20
3 QUINTANA Nairo Team Arkéa Samsic ,, 8
21 VANDENABEELE Henri Team DSM 0:09 -
73 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 4:11 -
108 PEDERSEN Casper Team DSM 11:15 -
127 HVIDEBERG Jonas Iversby Team DSM 14:46 -
129 BRENNER Marco Team DSM ,, -
145 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 27:04 -
1005 MAYRHOFER Marius Team DSM -04:12:51 -