Volta a Catalunya is a race which Dan Martin loves; after all, he won the general classification back in 2013, en route to this taking also an impressive stage victory. Now, the 29-year-old – who is in his first season with Etixx – Quick-Step – showed once again why he is one of the best riders in the world on explosive finishes, by landing another thrilling and spectacular win in the same Spanish race, at La Molina, a regular feature in Catalunya for some time now.
Coming at the start as Etixx – Quick-Step's leader and looking to improve on his tenth place of the previous edition, Dan stayed safe in the first two days of the event and patiently waited for the first opportunity to show himself, which came on Wednesday, when the peloton faced a tough stage (Girona – La Molina, 172.1 km), with four categorized climbs. As expected, a break – featuring also Julian Alaphilippe – was in the spotlight in the first part of the day, but with the GC riders knowing this stage presented itself as an important chance for them, it became obvious that the escape won't succeed.
Eventually, it all came together on the final climb – La Molina (11.1 km, 4.5% average gradient) – where Sky controlled the peloton before sending Wout Poels to the attack. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) was the first to respond, followed by Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who had a short dig. Inside the final kilometer, just as the race was experiencing some sort of status quo, Dan Martin sensed an opportunity and attacked, putting a handful of seconds between him and his opponents, before they got to react. Without ever looking behind, the Irishman surged on the first-category ascent and arrived alone at the finish line, where he delivered his second victory of the year, after the one in Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
The Etixx – Quick-Step rider was followed on the podium by seven-time Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador and Romain Bardet (AG2R). In the overall standings, thanks to the time he took on the road and the bonus seconds he grabbed at the arrival, Martin leads with a 6-second advantage over Contador, four days before the conclusion of the race.
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