Beginning with a local circuit Calella-Mataró-Calella all riders can stretch their legs on an uncategorized climb that does not exceed an elevation of 158 metres. Once back in Calella the route continues north along coast and then the pack turns left for an inland spin.
Halfway through the stage the asphalt starts to rise more significantly. Leaving Arbúcies the riders start to climb the Coll del Ravell – no category as of yet, that’s to come when they crest Alt Viladrau with 105 kilometres done. The Viladrau is a 2nd category climb in 11.8 kilometres at 3.4% with a maximum grade of 8%.
Some 24 kilometres later Alt del Coll Formic is reached, peaking at an elevation of 1.145 metres. The climb is 7.8 kilometres at an average grade of 5.2% with a steepest section of 9%. The fast 18 kilometres descent is spiced up with sharp bends.
With 166.6 kilometres done the third categorized ascent is crested. The Alt de Collsacreu is 7.4 kilometres at 3% and labelled 3rd category. Still 18.6 kilometres left to race.
In Sant Pol del Mar the riders are back at the coast for the last five kilometres. These are ultra-flat, so sprinters who are on board will be up for a party.
Calella in recent Catalunya editions
Calella is a seaside town 50 kilometres north of Barcelona, well-known for its long sandy beach. As of 2012 the Volta a Catalunya opened with a stage both starting and finishing here. Michael Albasini was the first to win. The Swiss did so after a solo, thus laying the ground-works for his overall win that edition.
Edition 2013 offered a hilly route of 159 kilometres. Gianni Meersman outsprinted his fellow-escapees Agnoli, Valverde and Daniel Martin.
Last year Luka Mezgec took a bunch sprint in the streets of Calella. The hilly course was not tough enough to disrupt the pack. Just like it might be today.
The finish of edition 2015’s stage 1 is expected around 17.00 (CET). Here you can follow the race live.
Volta a Catalunya 2015 stage 1: Route/profile and more
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