Volta a Catalunya 2018: The Route
The Volta a Catalunya starts on Monday, March 19th, to finish on Sunday, March 25th. The GC's decisive stages are played out in the middle of the race. Both the 3rd and 4th stage are for climbers and finish uphill, while the 5th stage is another toil in the high mountains, yet the finale is downhill. The one-week race ends with a hilly circuit in Barcelona.
The 1st stage of the Volta a Catalunya is a regular since 2012. With both start and finish in Calella, the opener of of the 2018 edition amounts to 152.3 kilometres and is played out on rolling roads. So a bunch spint is the most likely outcome.
Stage 2 follows a similar scenario on rolling roads, but the finale is expected to spice up the race. A 6.3 kilometres climb at 4.8% leads to a fast 8 kilometres descent, while the last 2 kilometres to the line are flat. In recent editions, both Alejandro Valverde and Wout Poels came out on top in this finale.
The 3rd stage of the Volta a Catalunya travels into the high mountains. Following three intermediate climbs the final haul up to Vallter 2000 is 12 kilometres and averaging 7.3%. That is, in theory. Due to bad weather the Vallter 2000 stage has been altered at the eleventh hour. The route now runs to Camprodon and will not be as selective. (update: March, 20th)
Another regular at the Volta a Catalunya is the summit finish in La Molina. Stage 4 takes in two intermediate climbs – with the Coll de la Creueta a literal eye-catcher: 21 kilometres climb, peaking at 2,000 metres -, before the final ascent to the ski resort in the Pyrenees. The climb is 5.6 kilometres at 5.8% and following a passage through La Molina the route kicks up another 2 kilometres before the last metres are a short drop to the line.
At 212.9 kilometres, stage 5 at the Volta a Catalunya is a long run. But the distance is not the only thing that’s long, so are the climbs. Port El Cantó is almost 25 kilometres, Port de la Creu de Perve 13.5 kilometres, while the last climb of the day amounts to 15 kilometres. The race ends with a 13 kilometres descent before the last kilometre runs on the flat.
The 6th stage sets off in the Val d’Aran only to follow the same route as the 5th stage, but in opposite direction. At kilometre 75 the riders head further south to leave the Pyrenees behind. The last one of three climbs is crested with 60 kilometres to go before a 18 kilometres descent and 42 kilometres on gently rolling roads takes the riders to the finish. As stage 3, this leg is shortened due to snow. The race starts in La Pobla de Segur, amounts to 117 kilometres, and features just one climb.
The final stage of the Volta a Catalunya comes down to a hilly circuit in Barcelona. At kilometre 100 the riders first enter the 6.6 kilometres lap, that revolves around the iconic Montjuïc Mountain, that’s majestically overlooking the city. Alto de Montjuïc is a 2 kilometres climb at 5.7% and after a short drop a 700 metres climb at 6% follows in its wake. The circuit is raced eight times.
Volta a Catalunya 2018: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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