Volta Ciclista a Catalunya #7: Siutsou and Kudus on the attack

merhawi

The 2016 edition of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya concluded today with a 135 kilometer long stage in Barcelona. The lumpy profile of the course made for an exciting race, which saw Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders Kanstantsin Siutsou and Merhawi Kudus go on the attack. In the end though, Alexey Tsatevich (Katusha) took the stage, while Nairo Quintana (Movistar) secured the overall.

11 riders managed to get into today’s break. With Siutsou representing our African squad in the lead group, the team could save some energy for the final kilometers, as these were to be tough ones to come. Going into the stage the GC contenders were only separated by a few seconds, so it was only a question of time until they would start to attack each other.

The first one to attack was Fabio Aru (Astana). The Italian tried to light up the race, bringing the gap to the breakaway down to only 2 minutes with 30 kilometers to go. By then Slovenian Matej Mohoric jumped the break but was later reeled in.

The race really picked up speed with 17 kilometers to go when Chris Froome bridged across to Aru. The 2-time Tour de France champion’s attack was covered by overnight leader Quintana. The Colombian later also kept on top of things and followed Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) when they tried their luck.

At the front Siustou was part of a group of a few riders that managed to get back onto the wheel of Mohoric. However, when eventual stage winner Tsatevic rode clear from the break with Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) in tow, our Belorussian couldn’t follow. He instead waited for Kudus, who himself had put in a good attack. The young Eritrean had good company in Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Daniel Navarro (Cofidis).

With two riders in the chase of the lead duo things were looking good for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. Yet, again, it wasn’t to be our day as the GC contenders reeled everyone in except for Tsatevic and Roglic who crossed the line 14 seconds ahead of the peloton. Kudus was the team’s best placed finisher coming home in 11th place.

Alex Sans Vega – Sports Director

We wanted to get into the break again today, as this was our only option to go for a stage win. With all the big GC contenders racing the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya this year it was a hard stage to predict. Kanstanstin managed to get into the break with 10 other riders, among them also was the later stage winner, Alexey Tsatevic. In the finale their gap came down rapidly, especially after Fabio Aru attacked. With Chris Froome and Alberto Contador also trying to attack Nairo Quintana it was a hard task to stay out front. In the finale we wanted to ride for Merhawi, who did a good race. Kanstantsin helped him, after he was dropped from the lead group inside the last 10 kilometers, but the GC contenders wouldn’t allow them to stay away. Overall it was a good week of racing. We knew that it was hard to achieve a top result in the GC given the strong competition. So we wanted to go for a stage win. We came really close the last three days, and I think we deserved a win. It didn’t happen though, but I guess that’s racing.

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