Volta a Catalunya #1: Sbaragli sprints to third place in the opening stage

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka got off to a very good start in the Spanish World Tour race as Kristian Sbaragli finished third in the bunch sprint in Calella.

Monday’s stage 1 of Volta a Catalunya was expected to be a day for the sprinters, even though there were several categorized climbs to overcome. Many riders tried to break away early on, among these Natnael Berhane, but the peloton was not interested in letting too big of a group get away. At the end, only four riders managed to distance the pack but they never got a gap of more than just a few minutes.

Towards the end of the stage, a couple of riders joined and later attacked from the breakaway. However, due to the hard work from the teams of the sprinters, it all came back together with 25 km left to go. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka set the pace in the peloton on the last couple of kilometers, making sure Sbaragli was kept in a good position for the final. Here, our Italian sprinter did very well to take third place as Davide Cimolai (FDJ) beat Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) on the line.

In the general classification, Sbaragli sits in third place before tomorrow’s 41.3 km long team time trial in Banyoles. On a very undulating route, this is a crucial stage for the riders and teams targeting the overall win.

Kristian Sbaragli:
“I felt good today. Unfortunately, we didn’t go hard on the climbs as Lotto-Soudal controlled the peloton and set a slow tempo. Therefore, everybody was there at the end. I did my best but I made a small mistake when they started the sprint. I’m happy with the result, but not super happy. I think I could have done more had the stage been approached in a different way. However, I’m satisfied with my condition and I hope to get another chance during the week”.