Alvaro Hodeg (Quickstep) won the opening stage of the Volta Catalunya, by sprinting to victory in Calella ahead of Sam Benenett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Jay Mcarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe).
The opening 151km stage of the Volta Catalunya was one for the sprinters, so for our climber packed African Team, the goal was to get through today’s stage without losing any unnecessary time. When the early break of the day, containing 6 riders, reached a lead of 3-minutes, the sprint teams started to control the gap.
The wind picked up slightly over the final 40km of the stage, which required some closer attention by the riders in order to not be caught out in a crosswind split. In the end, no such split occurred and the race was all together going over the small cat 3 climb that peaked with 18km to go.
Our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka GC riders were always well positioned and were all able to steer clear of any trouble. Merhawi Kudus was our first rider home, in 24th position. Tomorrow will see a similar stage to today’s opener, with another short cat 3 climb coming at 10km to go, being the main obstacle.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
Today was all about not losing any time, particularly with Louis. You could see in the last 5km there was a cross tailwind and Movistar put some guys in the gutter. That created a small risk for losing some seconds, but a split didn’t happen. The rest of the stage, the guys looked after each other well and saved energy for the days to come.