Four stay away with Smith winning the bunch sprint for fifth on Volta a Catalunya opening stage

New Zealander Dion Smith displayed top sprinting form today, winning the sprint for fifth place as a group of four escapees denied the Team BikeExchange rider the victory, successfully holding off the mighty chase by just 16 seconds on day-one of Volta a Catalunya.
 
A breakaway of four riders animated the start of the stage, riding out to over five minutes before Bora-hansgrohe took up control at the head of the peloton and begun gradually reeling them back in. The catch was made with 52km thanks to a big effort from Movistar Team, who pushed the pace on the main climb of the 175km stage.
 
With everything back together the scene was set for a fast bunch kick however, four opportunists launched away, with Team BikeExchange left to take up the chase, doing all they could to bring the quartet back down the final climb and fast run-in to Calella.
 
Andreas Kron (Lotto-Soudal) came out on top, stealing the race victory with Smith in fifth, just missing out on the chance to sprint for the win.
 
Dion Smith – 5th place
“It was a bit of a tricky one today because we have a couple of guys going for GC, so we don’t really want to use them all in the final and the four guys up the road weren’t really GC guys.
 
“We had Brent (Bookwalter) and Tanel (Kangert) riding on the flat run-in but for some reason the gap was staying quite far out. No other teams were really interested in this sprint so there was no cohesion, and so they managed to stay away which is a shame. I went pretty deep to stay at the front but today at least shows good signs for later in the week.
 
“For the sprint for fifth, it was a good test anyway to see how the legs are and Callum (Scotson) did an awesome lead-out and I trust him and his power and he put me in the perfect position. Today gives me confidence that I can climb but still finish well in the sprint.”
 
2021 Volta a Catalunya – Stage 1 Results:
1. Andreas Kron (Lotto-Soudal) 4:20:15
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana-Premier Tech) ST
3. Remy Rochas (Cofidis Solutions Credits) ST
5. Dion Smith (Team BikeExchange) +0:16
 
General Classification after stage 1:
1. Andreas Kron (Lotto-Soudal) 4:20:05
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana-Premier Tech) +0:04
3. Remy Rochas (Cofidis Solutions Credits) +0:06
5. Dion Smith (Team BikeExchange) +0:26
 
Photo courtesy of Getty Images