Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 6: Alaphilippe 2nd After Early Launch
Etixx - Quick-Step riders Julian Alaphilippe and Carlos Verona made a 21-rider breakaway at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 6 on Saturday, and Alaphiippe placed 2nd after launching early in the small group sprint and being pipped at the line by Sergei Chernetski (Katusha).
Etixx - Quick-Step riders Julian Alaphilippe and Carlos Verona made a 21-rider breakaway at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 6 on Saturday, and Alaphiippe placed 2nd after launching early in the small group sprint, but being pipped at the line by Sergei Chernetski (Katusha).
Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) was 3rd. Verona placed 10th, 3" down in the breakaway that was down to about 13 riders going into the final kilometers thanks to relentless attacking, including some accelerations from Verona. The breakaway maintained gap of around two and a half minutes as they headed toward the last kilometers of the race. Alaphilippe saved his energy in anticipation of a sprint toward the back of the group, but always keeping with the accelerations.
Steven Kruijswijk (Lotto NL - Jumbo) tried to go solo, but was caught inside 1km to go. Georg Preidler (Giant Alpecin) then tried his own attack, which was short lived as Alaphilippe went over the top of him in an attempt to win solo. Alaphilippe was caught just meters before the line.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to a final, 126.6km Stage 7 in Barcelona on Sunday. This stage includes a local circuit with Category 3 climb Alt de Montjuic.
Rigoberto Uran remains in 5th GC, 18" down.
"Today the team decided to be part of the action and make it into the breakaway," Alaphilippe said. "We thought after some very hard stages in the previous days it would be the right day to go. There was a lot of wind when we entered, but we went full gas and we stayed at that level the whole day. But it was really nice to be in this breakaway, as we collaborated really well. In the final I had good legs. Carlos tried attacking with about 12km to go in the stage, but it was brought back and after that it was just constant attacking until the last kilometer. I was looking at Preidler because to me he was the freshest. When he attacked I decided to make my move and take the risk to follow him. I caught him and countered immediately. I thought I could win in that moment, but they passed me at the line. To be honest, I'm really sad about it. It was a great chance and I lost it. In cycling these opportunities don't happen often. Last year I had another stage where I was 2nd, but it was my first year as a professional and it was easier to accept the result. This time it is a hard 2nd place to accept. But I have to turn the page and be optimistic. My condition is there. During the winter I had problems with my left knee and together with the team I decided to take the time to recover, and then I worked again to find the right fitness level. The team gave me a chance to ride in Paris-Nice and, as a French rider, this was a big boost of morale to ride in a French race alongside riders like Michal Kwiatkowski, Tony Martin, and Tom Boonen. When the team then asked me to ride this race I was over the moon. I am thankful for my selection at this race and I hope to finish my job tomorrow for Rigo, in the best way possible, and stay motivated for the Ardennes Classics and support our leader there."
"Today we have another 2nd place at this race," Sport Director Brian Holm said. "But the good news is it's clear Julian has come back strong after his knee problem. He showed his potential today and he was really close to victory. For him, it is just a question of time. The fact that we finished 2nd three times in Catalunya shows our strength as a team. Now we will stay focused for the stage of tomorrow. Rigo has been a great road captain and we are putting our full support behind him all the way to the finish line."