Breakaway stays away on penultimate stage of Catalunya

Sat 28 Mar 2015

The penultimate stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya was a quiet one for ORICA-GreenEDGE, the day’s breakaway surviving to contest for stage honours.

Colombian general classification consideration Esteban Chaves remained with the overall leaders in the peloton in support of the team’s ambitions whilst out front, Sergei Chernetckii (Team Katusha) sprinted to win the stage.

“We had a plan to see if we could make the move today but it wasn’t to be,” sport director Dave McPartland said.

Christian Meier was in the first threatening move that looked like breaking off but it was brought back. The second one went straight after over the initial climb and it just wasn’t the best terrain for our other guys to cover it.

“From there we changed our strategy expecting the intensity to increase and make the final really hard but it never really happened to the extent we thought.”

A large group of 21 riders formed the day’s successful breakaway within the first 20km of racing.

Team Katusha was the strongest outfit represented with three riders amongst the group, whilst ORICA-GreenEDGE was without a representative.  Team Sky was also without a rider out front and directed their energy to the front of the peloton to maintain a comfortable gap in defense of Richie Porte’s overall lead.

With no direct threat in the breakaway the effort to bring the race back together wasn’t there.  Instead, it was the pressure within that caused the large group to splinter.

As the group attacked each other in the strong crosswinds many lost touch until the dozen remaining contested for spoils in a small sprint.

Tomorrow’s final stage is held in the city of Barcelona and includes a punchy finishing circuit. Poor weather conditions last year saw few riders complete the Tour, but mother nature is expected to be more kind tomorrow.

“Tomorrow is not a flat course,” McPartland said. “It finishes on a hilly course and the general classification is definitely not over yet.”

“For Esteban, it’ll be a case of aiming to be really quiet early and then having a big final.”