The Volta a Catalunya is Chris Froome’s first big race in 2017. All eyes are on him, so the triple Tour de France winner will be focussed to perform. Yet, the Volta a Catalunya didn’t bring him any stunning results so far. His best performance was in 2014 – 6th overall – while Contador is a one-time victor. Both are backed up by their chief assistants for the upcoming Tour de France: Thomas and Landa for Froome, Mollema for Contador.
Contador will go to great lengths to take his first victory for Trek. In Ruta del Sol and Paris-Nice victory eluded him by 1 and 2 seconds, respectively with Alejandro Valverde and Sergio Henao as winner.
Besides Valverde two more contenders in in the Volta Catalunya have a 2017 victory under their belt. Bauke Mollema did win the Tour de San Juan while Ben Hermans took the Tour of Oman, yet we can expect them to ride in support of Contador and Van Garderen/Dennis, respectively.
Stage 3 and stage 5 are probably going to be decisive, and let’s not underestimate the team time trial on the second day. With a distance of over 40 kilometres the TTT specialists of Quick-Step (Dan Martin) and BMC (Tejay van Garderen, Rohan Dennis) will be ready to deliver a first blow.
Interesting to watch Rohan Dennis. The 26-yo time trialist aims to develop into a Grand Tour contender. The Volta a Catalunya is his second test before the upcoming Giro d’Italia will be his first shot. In the Tirreno-Adriatico he finished in second overall, less than half a minute down on Nairo Quintana.
Of the contending riders Alejandro Valverde (2009), Alberto Contador (2011) and Daniel Martin (2013) did win the Volta a Catalunya before.
Favourites Volta a Catalunya 2017
*** Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Daniel Martin, Alejandro Valverde
** Tejay van Garderen, Adam Yates, Ilnur Zakarin, Romain Bardet, Geraint Thomas
* Rafal Majka, Andrew Talansky, Rohan Dennis, Bauke Mollema, Jakob Fuglsang