Although it’s the ninth consecutive time that the Volta a Catalunya opens with a race from Calella to Calella, the route is never the same. The inaugural stage of 2019 – the 2020 edition was cancelled – played out on a mountainous route featuring the Port de Collsacreu (twice), Port de Santa Fe del Montseny, Alt El Muntanyà and Coll Formic. Thomas De Gendt won the race in his emblematic style, namely solo, finishing almost 3 minutes ahead of the peloton.
The route of this year’s opener is not as mountainous as in 2019 – which was the last edition -, but still, a lot of climbing lies ahead. The first 80 kilometres are easy, but from then onward the road gradually points uphill. The Port de les Guilleries is the first summit and following a short descent the riders tackle the Port de Santa Fe del Montseny. The climb is crested at an elevation of 1,275 metres and with roughly 50 kilometres remaining.
A long descent runs onto a false flat that ushers in the Port de Collsacreu. This is a 3 kilometres climb at 6% with the summit 17.5 kilometres before the finish line.
Calella is a seaside town 55 kilometres north of Barcelona. Former winners of the Calella-Calella stage are Álvaro José Hodeg (2018, sprint), David Cimolai (2017, sprint), Nacer Bouhanni (2016, sprint), Maciej Paterski (2015, early break), Luka Mezgec (2014, sprint), Gianni Meersman (2013, sprint), and Michael Albasini (2012, solo).
The first three riders on the line gain time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while intermediate sprints come with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Another interesting read: results 1st stage 2021 Volta a Catalunya.
Volta a Catalunya 2021 stage 1: route, profile, more
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