[Underneath article was written before the start of the Volta a Catalunya and has not been updated]
Nairo Quintana is one of those riders who always loses time in races against the clock. As is Richard Carapaz. Simon Yates also used to be in this category, but recently he performed very strong in the Paris-Nice ITT. He was altogether strong in that race, finishing in second overall and winning the last stage.
The battle for the overall triumph on the Volta a Catalunya is expected to come down to stage 3 and stage 4, while the hilly criterium race on the last day of action is always compelling, but seldom leads to significant changes on GC.
Stage 3 is likely to open up the first time gaps among GC riders before the ultimate victor tuns out on top in Boí Taüll. The La Molina finish climb on the third day of action climbs at 6% for 9 kilometres before it levels out and even descends for a bit, only to bounce back with 2 kilometres at 4%. Not an ascent for pure mountain goats, but if the form is not good enough, you suffer.
The Boí Taüll climb on the fourth day is similar, only longer and slightly steeper. The ski resort lies at the end of a 14.2 kilometres climb at 5.5%. It’s a steady ascent with a false flat kilometre halfway.
Recent winners of the Volta a Catalunya are Adam Yates (2021), Miguel Ángel López (2019), Alejandro Valverde (2018, 2017, 2009), Nairo Quintana (2016), and Richie Porte (2015).
Favourites 2022 Volta a Catalunya
**** Simon Yates, Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana
*** Richard Carapaz, Jai Hindley, Marc Soler, Hugh Carthy
** Ben O’Connor, Carlos Rodriguez, Jack Haig, Tom Dumoulin, Rigoberto Uran
* Iván Sosa, João Almeida, Jakob Fuglsang, Wout Poels, Giulio Ciccone, Esteban Chaves