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“There was three climbs and the climb in the middle was not easy, but overall the race was not that difficult. The last climb the peloton took fairly easy and almost everyone was there. Giacomo came off but he came back with a small g...

Photo: Trek Factory Racing






24.03.2014 @ 21:18 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Volta a Catalunya is the first stage race for Giacomo Nizzolo after he broke his collarbone this year and even though he is one of the fastest sprinters in the peloton, the Italian is still not ready to mix it up with his fellow fast guys. Today he got dropped on the final climb but managed to return to the main group in time for the sprint but chose not to participate in the mad dash to the line.


The weeklong WorldTour event kicked off today with a 169.7-kilometer stage, starting and finishing in the coastal town of Calella. As the peloton pedaled inland it encountered the climbs of Montseny and Collsacreu near the end of the stage, before dropping back to the coast, and the finish line.


The stage win and overall leader’s jersey were on the line, and with every stage including climbs of some sort - and mountainous days ahead - plus the lack of sprinters in the hilly race to help control large breakaways, the vigilant tactics were apparent from the start.

As a result, only two riders made the first, and only, breakaway of the day. Even when a third rider bridged with 30-kilometers to go, the trio posed little threat, and all was back together by the final climb, the Collsacreu.


Julián Arredondo surged ahead briefly near the top of the climb with two others, but the move was quickly snuffed. The twisting descent was fast and aggressive, and as the intact peloton plunged down to the coast numerous riders attempted to ride off the front. However, with a few kilometers to go the peloton was one big group heading into a bunch sprint.


Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano) nabbed the win and first leader’s jersey of the race, just ahead of Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge) and Julian Alaphilippe (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) respectively.


It was an unassuming day for Trek Factory Racing, which was the team’s plan, explained sport director Alain Gallopin after the race had concluded.


“Giacomo [Nizzolo] is still coming back from injury and it is still too early for him, so we could not expect him to be there at the end for the sprint. So today our focus was protecting our GC riders Julián [Arredondo] and Robert [Kiserlovski].  Haimar [Zubeldia] was also sick last night - there are a lot of guys sick here - so today was more to get to the finish together safely and look towards the climbing stages ahead. Our goal is to be in the top 10 GC.


“There was three climbs and the climb in the middle was not easy, but overall the race was not that difficult. The last climb the peloton took fairly easy and almost everyone was there. Giacomo came off but he came back with a small group on the downhill.  Tomorrow is much the same, so we will see, but for us it will more than likely be the same plan as today."


You can read our preview of stage two here and follow our live coverage at 15.15 CET on



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