Another sprint finish on stage two of Volta Catalunya

Tue 22 Mar 2016

ORICA-GreenEDGE rider Daryl Impey finished in 13th place on today's stage two of the WorldTour race Volta Catalunya.

After a steadier day compared to yesterday's stage, the peloton raced along wide, open roads during the final kilometres into Olot. The day concluded with another fast, hectic bunch sprint with Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) taking the stage win for the second day.

"It was a really cruisy day," Sport director Neil Stephens explained. "I think that showed at the finish. It's unfortunate it was a bit too cruisy, as there was a lot of fresh people, a lot of people wanting to get to the finish." 

"We were really well placed, the boys tried to defend a good position coming into the finish but unfortunately with just over one kilometre to go they were swamped and that was where our race was over.

"Basically, Impey and Simon Gerrans were on their own and way too far back. We didn't do the job very well today. We tried but it didn't come together, maybe because we have a little bit of inexperience with guys who are usually not used to doing that role, but they tried to do it and did their best."

With the first two stages following lumpy terrain then finishing with flat finals, tomorrow the race heads into the mountains where the general classification is likely to be shaken up.

"Tomorrow and the next days are really quite hilly, so it's a completely different type of race," Stephens said. "We will probably see the big teams like Sky, Cannondale and Movistar try to take it up. We are going to give it a good shot over the next few days in the mountains."

How it happened:

Stage two began in another costal town of the Catalunya region - Mataró. After only 13 kilometres of racing, four riders were allowed to break free - Boris Dron (Wanty), Kamil Gradek (Verva), Maxime Bouet (Etixx-Quickstep) and Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal).

As the peloton made their way through the stage the breakaway were not able to gain more than a three minute advantage. As they began to ascend the ten-kilometre category one climb, Els Angels, their advantage slowly began to drop with 80 kilometres left to race.

Team Katusha, Team Sky and Tinkoff sat at the head of the peloton maintaing a tempo up and over the climb, closing in on the four escapees. As the time gap reduced, De Gendt decided to take his chances and went away solo quickly riding out to a one minute advantage within the final 20 kilomteres of the stage.

The peloton rolled along wide, open roads in the finale and De Gendt was soon caught by the rapid chase from behind. The stage was set for another bunch sprint finish.

In a chaotic final two kilometres, Impey and Gerrans were caught out too far back and subsequently struggled to move up within the closing meters. 

Bouhanni took the stage victory with Impey coming home in 13th place, now sitting in fourth place on the general classification just 16 seconds behind.

Tomorrow the race head to the ski resort of La Molina for a summit finish - a stage welcomed only by the climbers.

Volta Catalunya stage one results:

1. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) 4:39:10
2. Gianni Meersman (Etixx-Quickstep) ST
3. Phillip Gilbert (BMC racing team) ST
13. Daryl Impey (ORICA-GreenEDGE) ST

General Classification after stage two:

1. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) 9:07:41
2. Ben Swift (Team Sky) +0:14
3. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) +0:14
4. Daryl Impey (ORICA-GreenEDGE) +0:16