Volta a Catalunya opens with bunch gallop
Maxime Bouet and Carlos Verona went to the attack on the inaugural day of the World Tour race.
Starting and finishing in Calella, stage 1 of Volta a Catalunya had only three riders make it into the break: Boris Dron (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Luis Mas (Caja Rural) and Cameron Meyer (Dimension Data). At one point, their gap almost reached the 7-minute barrier, but it still wasn't enough to give them any realistic chance of succeeding in their battle with a peloton who was keen to see the stage end up in a bunch sprint. After they were reabsorbed, Louis Vervaeke (Lotto-Soudal) made his move with around 30 kilometers to go and got 400 meters on the pack, before six other riders counterattacked, among them being also Etixx – Quick-Step's Maxime Bouet and Carlos Verona.
The group tried to stay at the front, but the chase led by Movistar and Sky didn't give them too much space, so it was back together for the final kilometers. In Calella, Nicholas Roche (Team Sky) went for a late solo attack, but he too was caught by the peloton, and the stage concluded with a sprint won by Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), ahead of Ben Swift (Team Sky) and Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge).
Stage 2 of Volta a Catalunya (178.7 kilometers) will start in Mataro and will see the riders go over two categorized climbs – Alt de Can Bordoi and Alt de Els Angels – before heading to Olot, were the finish will be very much to the puncheurs' liking.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele