Volta a Catalunya 2018: Favourites

alejandro valverde 2018 - Volta a Catalunya 2018: FavouritesThe Volta a Catalunya is a rare exception to the unspoken rule that stage races of one week and more should feature a time trial. Which makes the race pre-eminently a chance for pure climbers. Who are the major contenders to win the 2018 Volta a Catalunya? (Slideshow route/profile)

Presumably, at the Volta a Catalunya it comes down to three stages in terms of GC. The 3rd stage finishes uphill in Vallter 2000 at the end of a 12 kilometres climb with an average gradient of 7.3%. In the recent past, both Nairo Quintana and Tejay van Garderen have won stages in the ski resort. Stage 4 travels to La Molina, a last climb that’s not only shorter (5.6 kilometres) but also less steep (5.8%), so one might expect this mountain race to be not as decisive as the Vallter 2000 stage. The 5th stage offers a chance for riders with good descending skills to shine. It’s not only a long stage it also contains long ascents, while the finale is a 14 kilometres drop down to the line.

Alejandro Valverde (2009, 2017), Dan Martin (2013), Richie Porte (2015) and Nairo Quintana (2016) are the riders who have won the Volta a Catalunya and are still racing. Last year, Valverde was virtually unbeatable – what’s a in a (nick)name? -, as he won he won three out of seven stages, sprinted to second place in the 6th stage, and pocketed the overall.

For former winner Nairo Quintana the Volta a Catalunya is his first race on European soil in 2018. While he was preparing at home in Colombia, his team-mates Alejando Valverde and Marc Soler were successful with wins in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and Abu Dhabi Tour (Valverde) and Paris-Nice (Soler). The Yates-brothers are also very competitive. The overall victory in the Race to the Sun eluded Simon with a margin of 4 seconds (Soler’s time bonus in the last stage), while Adam won the Tirreno-Adriatico’s 5th stage with a powerful solo attack on the steep final climb.

Favourites Volta a Catalunya 2018

***** Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana, Thibaut Pinot, Adam Yates
**** Fabio Aru, Simon Yates, Michael Woods, Marc Soler
*** George Bennett, Rigoberto Uran, Daniel Martin, Tejay van Garderen
** Esteban Chaves, Davide Formolo, Steven Kruijswijk
* Bob Jungels, Warren Barguil, David de la Cruz, Sergio Henao

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Volta a Catalunya 2018: Route maps, height profiles, and more

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