Impey just outside the top ten on the opening sprint stage in Volta Ciclista Catalunya

Mon 19 Mar 2018

The 2018 edition of Volta Ciclista Catalunya kicked off today with a bunch sprint concluding the opening stage with South African champion Daryl Impey sprinting to 13th place for Mitchelton-SCOTT.

In a fast dash for the line into Calella, Quickstep-Floors came out on top with a win from 21-year-old Alvaro Hodge. Mitchelton-SCOTT’s general classification contenders finished safety in the bunch on the same time ahead of the coming challenging mountain stages.

Day’s breakaway

In the early stages of the 152kilometre day, five riders established the day’s main breakaway and rode out to a maximum advantage of three minutes. After 50kilometres one other rider bridged across and the six leaders worked together to remain ahead for the majority of the fairly flat opening stage. 

With just 20kilometres remaining, as the race approached the only categorised climb of the day, the leaders were finally swallowed up by the bunch and the race was on for a sprint finish.

Fast lined-out sprint

Heading down the descent and back towards the finishing town Calella, Team Movistar led the peloton in the final 10kilometres along the coast road with Mitchelton-SCOTT riding close to the front, keeping the general classification contenders out of trouble and trying to position Impey for the sprint.

The fast tempo saw the bunch stretched out in one long line for the final kilometre, with Impey sitting around 10th wheel as the sprint opened up. In the end Quickstep-Floors led the sprint in the final metres, claiming first place with Alvaro Hodge with Impey the highest finisher for the team.

Daryl Impey- 13th place on stage 1

“I knew I was up against it and made a mistake by not being aggressive enough into the first roundabout coming into the finish. Simon Yates tried to bring me back up but we ran out of road and I was pretty much closing gap after gap in the end. Quickstep-Floors got it right in the final and I just didn’t have the legs do come around guys to finish it off."

"The team was great today and all the guys are in great shape. I felt ok after a lot of racing so there is still a lot to look forward to. I am disappointed in my result but that won’t stop me from trying more."

Volta Ciclista Catalunya stage one results:

1. Alvaro Hodge (Quickstep-Floors) 3:39:31
2. Sam Bennet (Bora-Hansgrohe) ST
3. Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) ST
13. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

General classification after stage one:

1. Alvaro Hodge (Quickstep-Floors) 3:39:21
2. Sam Bennet (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:04
3. Andriy Grivko (Astana) +0:05
14. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:10

Photos courtesy of Getty Images