The Volta a Catalunya opens on a route leading from Calella to Calella, as it does since 2012. Yet, the course is never the same. Sometimes a chance for sprinters, the next time an attacker snatches both stage win and leaders jersey. Michael Albasini, Gianni Meersman, Luka Mezgec, Maciej Paterski and Nacer Bouhanni, they all took the win in the sea side resort north of Barcelona.
Stage 2 is played out in the comarca Pla de l’Estany. The 41.3 kilometres team time trial leaves from Banyoles to finish there as well. Mark Cavendish (2010) and Gianni Meersman (2013) sprinted to victory in the industrial centre just north of Girona. The route of the 2017 Volta a Catalunya takes in the first team time trial since 2005.
The route of stage 3 is perfect for climbers. After leaving departure place Mataró the course takes in Puerto de Toses while the finale offers a double ascent to ski-resort La Molina. That’s two times a 5.6 kilometres climb at 5.8% with steepest sectors of 9%. The La Molina climb was in the last three editions of the Volta a Catalunya and the winner follows in the footsteps of Joaquim Rodríguez (2014), Tejay Van Garderen (2015) and Daniel Martin (2016).
Stage 4 leaves from Llívia to Igualada before stage 5 is sure to detonate the fireworks. Although the course leads through the delta of the Ebro River the finale brings a tough climb to the table. The finish is at Els Ports, a peak in the mountain range Los Puertos de Tortosa-Beseit. The 10 kilometres closing climb at 9.7% is marked by steepest ramps of 15%. The last victor on these slopes was Luis Herrera in 1991.
Stage 6 leaves from Tortosa, a small town on the Ebro River, to travel to Reus. Although the Catalan coastal town hosted the Volta as far back as 1923, and it did so on 28 occasions since then, it has been 54 years the two finally reunite. Legendary riders such as Miquel Poblet – record holder with 33 stage win – and Mariano Cañardo – five time overall winner in Catalunya – took stages in Reus.
The closing stage of the Volta a Catalunya is on familiar grounds. Finishing in Barcelona, the course takes in a closing circuit that circles around Alto de Montjuic, the famous 2 kilometres climb at 5.7% in the Catalan capital. The steepest sector of 8% is right below the top. Just like in recent editions, the finish line is at the end of a 3.9 kilometres drop.
Volta a Catalunya 2017: Height profiles, and more
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