2017 Volta a Catalunya: Preview
Mar 19 2017 08:59 pm CET

2017 Volta a Catalunya: Preview
2017 Volta a Catalunya: Preview


The 2017 edition of the Volta a Catalunya starts on Monday as some of the best climbers in the world gather to show themselves in what is certain to be a close battle.

The opening stage on Monday will immediately allow the climbers to test their skills ahead of what is yet to come. The route includes several climbs, including two of the first category. The finaly is mostly downhill but a short climb near the end may still cause some trouble to those that remain in front.

Day two features a Team Time Trial of 41.3 kilometers in and around the town of Banyoles. Those with ambitions for the overall classification won't want to be caught out as they tackle the tough parcours with elevation differences of about 150 meters.

Stage 3 will offer yet another chance for the GC riders to shine with two first-category climbs including the final ascent of La Molina (1692 meters).

The fourth stage is a mostly downhill event although a few potentially nasty climbs may well shake things up in the finale. A day later, a 1000m climb to Lo Port is certain to have GC contenders wanting to give it their all as the relatively flat parcours leading up to the last climb offers an excellent opportunity for an explosive finale.

The sixth and penultimate stage includs a number of climbs as well but the downhill finale may mean that no big moves will be made for the general classification. The final day sees the peloton arriving to the city of Barcelona. The 138km stage includes eight local laps, each of them featuring a climb of almost 100 meters.

All in all, the route promises to be a perfect opportunity for some of the world's best climbers while sprinters will likely and understandably choose to pedal elsewhere.

Many eyes in this race will of course be on three-times Tour de France winner Chris Froome. The Team Sky rider is set to make his season debut in this race and has the support of a strong team including Geraint Thomas, Mikel Landa, Mikel Nieve and Peter Kennaugh.

While Sky may be using this race as a team test ahead of the upcoming grand tours, Movistar will have different plans with Alejandro Valverde receiving the assistance of riders like Jonathan Castroviejo and Andrey Amador.

Alberto Contador only just missed out on the overall victory of Paris-Nice but will be determined to make up for it in Catalonia. The Spaniard of Trek-Segafredo is joined by Bauke Mollema and Jarlinson Pantano. The Colombian was particularly important to Contador in Paris-Nice.

Other big names to keep an eye on for this race include Rohan Dennis, Tejay Van Garderen (the BMC riders will want to do well in the TTT), Adam Yates, Ilnur Zakarin, Daniel Martin, Pierre Rolland, Steven Kruijswijk, Robert Gesink, Romain Bardet and Rafal Majka.

The Volta a Catalunya has a rich history with some of the world's best riders on its list of champions. Reigning winner Nairo Quintana won't be there to defend his crown however, and neither will 2015 winner Richie Porte and 2014 champion Joaquim 'Purito' Rodriguez. As such, Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors), who won the race in 2013, is the most recent winner to make an appearance this year.

Other former winners include Michele Scarponi, Alejandro Valverde, and Miguel Indurain, who won the race on three occasions. Nobody was quite as successful as Mariano Cañardo however. The Spaniard won the Volta no less than seven times between 1928 and 1939. This record is extremely unlikely to be beaten any time soon.

The 2017 Volta a Catalunya promises to be an exciting race as some of the world's best climbers face off on a number of tough and unforgiving climbs. Will it be Sky's perfect demonstration ahead of the grand tour season or will another team impress in the Catalan mountains? Only time will tell!
Volta a Catalunya logo




Have you always wanted to write about cycling? Click HERE to contact us!

Enter your email address: