Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 2: Perfect Tactic Execution Earns Meersman 2nd Straight Win
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team had an aggressive strategy going into the predicted bunch sprint of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 2 on Tuesday, with Michal Golas attacking with a few other riders, and sprinter Andrew Fenn looking like he may be the sprinter after Golas and the attackers were caught with 1.7km to go.
However, it was Fenn who actually served as a leadout for Gianni Meersman. While Fenn was riding up the left side, race leader Meersman — who won Stage 1 in a select group on Monday — launched his sprint on the right side. It was the perfect tactic, and Meersman held on with a powerful effort for the victory.
Meersman expanded his GC lead to 14" with the win due to the bonus seconds, and his win is the 17th for OPQS, in three disciplines, in 2013.
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya heads into a mountain stage for Stage 3. The 180.1km stage includes three categorized climbs, and a summit finish on HC Vallter (19.38km, average gradient 6%, max ramp 15%).
"Even today it was a great sprint," Meersman said of his victory. "It was a great day for the team. At the beginning we expected not a lot of support from other teams, which is quite normal. But, just as it was yesterday, the team was really strong. We managed to control the race. The final circuit was nervous, but we were always on the front controlling. Then, I have to say the team did a great job in the last 2 kilometers. Dries did a great thing closing the gap on two Blanco riders off the front, and then Andy Fenn led me to the 200 meter point. It was perfect, so I came out from the bunch and I did my sprint and I won, so I am glad I was able to win again for me and the team. This team, everyone knows their job and it's marvelous and super to ride with each and every one. Even for me personally it was a great moment in my career, It's the first time I've won two races in a row. It's really a special feeling after all the sacrifices I have done in my career. I am happy also for my family. I haven't seen them often because of the races, but I am sure they will enjoy with me this moment. About the stage of tomorrow, we will go into the mountains. So it will be my turn to help and work for my teammates and try to give them back all the help they gave me for these two first stages."