The 1st stage of the Volta a Catalunya is an out-and-back race in Calella since 2012. Mostly running on hilly terrain, still the race often boils down to a sprint finish. Young Álvaro José Hodeg won last year’s Calella stage ahead of Sam Bennett and Jay McCarthy on .
The 2nd stage travels from Mataró to Sant Feliu de Guíxols and is likely to offer another opportunity for fast finishers.
Stage 3 is another thing altogether. The race runs from Sant Feliu de Guíxols to a high altitude finish in Vallter 2000. The final climb to the ski resort is 12 kilometres and the average gradient is 7.3%. Occasionally the inclination kicks up up to 14%.
More high mountains in the 4th stage, as Volta a Catalunya takes in its traditional summit finish in La Molina. The winner succeeds Alejandro Valverde (2018, 2017), Daniel Martin (2016), Tejay van Garderen (2015) and Joaquim Rodríguez (2014), so it is fair to say the ski resort is a regular host. The final haul up is 9 kilometres at 6% and when the riders move through La Molina the route continues with a short drop and a 2 kilometres climb to the line.
Stage 5 starts at an elevation of 1,200 metres in the Pyrenees, Puigcerdà, and runs predominantly downhill as the finish is Sant Cugat del Vallès, a suburb of Barcelona. The 6th stage goes from Valls to Vila-seca before the Volta a Catalunya ends with the a circuit race in Barcelona, that revolves around Alto de Montjuïc. Eight laps with two slopes – 2 kilometres at 5.7% and 700 metres at 6% – and the successor of Alejandro Valverde will be known.
The reigning World Champion also won the race in 2017 and 2009.
Full details of the route of the 2019 Volta a Catalunya will be revealed on 30 January.
Volta a Catalunya 2019: profiles, more
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