Patrick Bevin kicked off Volta a Catalunya with tenth place on stage one, which was won by Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) who spent almost the entire day up the road.
De Gendt was part of a six-man breakaway which went clear soon after the flag dropped. The leading group established a lead of nearly five-minutes, which later on was controlled by the Team Arkéa Samsic and Deceuninck – Quick Step-led peloton.
CCC Team riders were riding safely in the bunch to save energy for the key moments in the 164-kilometer stage, which featured five categorized climbs.
Due to the demanding, mountainous terrain, it was difficult for the break to hold off the chasing bunch and with the gap down to 2’30” at the halfway point of the race, it appeared that the catch would be only a matter of time.
De Gendt decided to launch his move from the breakaway with 60 kilometers to go, on the category one climb, Col Formic, with only Luis Ángel Maté (Cofidis) able to follow the Belgian.
Eventually the Spaniard was dropped and the Lotto-Soudal rider started his solo journey towards the finish line.
CCC Team took to the front of the peloton in the final 20 kilometers, assisting with the chase to bring De Gendt back, but with De Gendt’s advantage above three minutes in the final 10 kilometers, it was clear that the bunch would be denied and De Gendt would hold on to take the win.
Maximilian Schachmann (BORA – hansgrohe), who attacked late in the race, claimed second place, while Patrick Bevin was CCC Team’s top finisher, sprinting to tenth place from the bunch.
Quotes from the Finish Line:
“It was a pretty disappointing sprint for me personally, as I found myself sprinting from a long way out. I was comfortable on the climbs, but at the end of the day it came down to a battle for second place, after giving Thomas De Ghent far too much rope.
The plan was to have somebody in the breakaway, but only if the leading group was big. Normally six riders in a break for a climbing stage with more than 3000 meters isn’t enough, but today you just have to tip your hat.”
Volta a Catalunya
Stage 1: Calella > Calella (164km)
Top 3: 1. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), 2. Maximilian Schachmann (BORA – hansgrohe), 3. Grega Bole (Bahrain-Merida)
CCC Team top 3: 10. Patrick Bevin 70. Łukasz Owsian, 75. Laurens Ten Dam