Adam and Simon Yates head a strong Mitchelton-SCOTT team in Volta Ciclista a CatalunyaFri 22 Mar 2019
Mitchelton-SCOTT bring a strong team of climbers to Volta Ciclista a Catalunya next week including both Adam and Simon Yates plus Colombia Esteban Chaves.
Dual South African champion Daryl Impey returns to racing in Catalunya, giving the team an option for the potential sprint stages, as the Tour Down Under winner looks to build on his early season form after a small break from racing.
The squad heads in to the seven-day race with an open plan, knowing a lot can change during this busy early season racing period and uncertain Spring weather. 2019 signings New Zealander Dion Smith, Swiss rider Michael Albasini and Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay add valuable strength and support to the squad to tackle the diverse stages on offer.
The race follows a similar route to the previous editions with two opening stages more suited to the sprinters before heading straight to the mountains for the third stage and fourth stage, finishing above 2000metres altitude, in the ski resorts of Vallter 2000 and then La Molina.
The fifth stage is a day of respite for the climbers with another flat potential sprint day, before two tough hilly stages to conclude the race and sort out the final general classification.
The team has tasted success in the race before with an overall victory and stage wins over the years. Back in 2012 Michael Albasini claimed the overall race victory, in 2017 Daryl Impey won a stage and last year Simon Yates took victory on the final stage, a hilly circuit in Barcelona before finishing in fourth place overall.
"We are sending a super strong team to Catalunya and there’s not TT which is convenient. We didn’t come away with the overall win in Tirreno recently, but we took a stage win and held the leader’s jersey for almost the whole race, so it bodes well for the team and the team’s confidence in me before Catalunya.
“It looks like a super hard race and we have some good climbers coming to the race. The stage to Vallter 2000, this climb isn’t too far from Andorra, so a lot of guys know this climb and know how hard it is, I have done it in the past in 2014 I think, the first year I did Catalunya so it is a super hard climb and a stage that can be crucial.
“Simon has shown he is going well in Paris-Nice, obviously winning the TT there, and we have a good strong team so we will have strength in numbers and hopefully we can do something.”
“I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things after a busy start to the year. It has been nice to have a break but I feel ready to race. We have a very strong squad.
“I will definitely try go for one or two stages if the opportunity is there but I am mindful of the fact that we will of course be looking for a good overall. I have enjoyed success here in the past and racing on home roads gives me some extra motivation.”
Julian Dean- Sport director
“We have a mix of riders preparing for the Giro but Volta Catalunya is a WorldTour race and a WorldTour win is significant for any team so we will definitely be looking for opportunities when they present themselves.
“We will approach the race with an open plan and open mind. Given that we are in the middle of a heavy race period and changeable weather things can be drastically different from one race to the next. By stage three to Vallter 2000 we will have better idea of how the race is going to pan out.
“Daryl has won stages here before and he is always capable of victory in a variety of situations. We will support Daryl when these opportunities present themselves. Then again racing Milan-San Remo on the Saturday before and adds an element of uncertainty for the first couple days at la Volta.”
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Race Details:
Monday, 25th Mar: Stage 1, Calella to Calella, 164km
Tuesday, 26th Mar: Stage 2, Mataro to Sant Feliu de Guixols, 176km
Wednesday, 27th Mar: Stage 3, Sant Feliu de Guixols to Vallter 200, 179km
Thursday, 28h Mar: Stage 4, Llanars to La Molina, 150km
Friday, 29th Mar: Stage 5, Puigcerda to Sant Cugat del Valles, 188km
Saturday, 30th Mar: Stage 6, Valls to Vila-Seca, 174km
Sunday, 31st Mar: Stage 7, Barcelona Montjuic to Barcelona Montjuic, 143km
Photos courtesy of Getty Images