The Wolfpack is ready for one of the oldest stage races in the world.
The 100th edition of the Volta a Catalunya, scheduled for next week, will be a mountainous affair, the insanely hard course giving almost no moment of respite for the peloton. The two summit finishes to Vallter 2000 and Port Ainé, an 18.3km rolling individual time trial around Banyoles and the exciting Montjuic circuit in Barcelona on the last stage, replicating the course of the 1973 World Championships, will stand out as the main difficulties at the first Spanish World Tour event of the year, where also the bonifications at the finish will make for some exciting racing.
Having finished in the top 10 both races he started this season, the UAE Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico, João Almeida will lead Deceuninck – Quick-Step at the seven-day Volta a Catalunya, which will start from Calella for the ninth edition in a row. French ITT Champion Rémi Cavagna, who came close to his first win of 2021 last week in Paris-Nice, will join the young Portuguese on the team, which will also include Josef Cerny, Dries Devenyns, James Knox, Fausto Masnada and Pieter Serry.
“We have a strong and very motivated squad and we aim to do a good general classification with João. He was up there in the Middle East and then in Tirreno-Adriatico and we hope the trend will continue in Catalunya”, explained Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Klaas Lodewyck. “The parcours is very hard, and the Vallter 2000 and Port Ainé climbs will make for some significant gaps in the standings, but at the same time, also the ITT can play a big role in the final outcome. We must not forget about the hilly circuit on the last day, because it’s usually raced full gas and even there a lot can happen. Overall, we expect it to be a very demanding race, but we are confident in our chances of getting some nice results.”
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel