Chaves safely in peloton on stage one in Catalunya

Mon 23 Mar 2015

Colombian Esteban Chaves has finished safely amongst the peloton, in support of his general classification ambitions, on the first day of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

In an unconventional start to the week-long Tour, a small three-man breakaway contested for first stage spoils, Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) triumphant.

“We had two guys finish in the first group, including Esteban to keep our general classification on track, but the day didn’t really go as planned, that’s for sure,” sport director Dave McPartland said.

“A group went early but we weren’t happy with the riders that were in that group, it had rival sprint teams which would have had us chasing all day, so we brought that back.

“Then the second group went. It was a reasonable group – a small group, no sprint teams - but we couldn’t do 150km on the front alone. When we had no collaboration from other teams to bring it back to a sprint, we called it off.

“From there, the big general classification teams had a big standoff looking at each other until they hit panic stations when we hit 70km to go and the gap was still 12minutes and began to chase.”

After several unsuccessful breakaway attempts in the first 50km, including a group of ten riders who briefly looked like snapping the elastic to an attentive peloton lead by ORICA-GreenEDGE, the day’s major break finally established with just three riders.

A then relaxed peloton allowed Paterski, Bart De Clercq (Lotto Soudal) and Pierre Rolland (Team Europcar) to gain a maximum advantage of over 13minutes.

Eventually, after a considerable standoff, the general classification teams sent representatives to the front to initiate the chase but it was too little too late to fight for stage honours, the peloton crossing the finish line two minutes 40seconds in arrears of the winner.

Tomorrow’s 195km stage two from Mataró to Olot features two smaller category three climbs, the second of which comes within 15km of the finish.  The stage could follow today’s lead and suit another breakaway, or come back together for a hard bunch kick.