On paper the undulating stage two could go one of two ways. It could either be a day for the punchy sprinters or an opportunity for a breakaway to stay clear. CCC Team wanted to be ready for both scenarios so, Černý went away early with two other riders. The trio collaborated well together and managed to gain a lead of over seven minutes but, with a strong headwind blowing throughout most of the stage, their task became much harder.
As the breakaway was nearing the halfway point, the pace in the bunch picked up and this caused the gap to drop to five minutes at the top of the second categorized climb of the day, the Port de Santa Pellaia.
While Černý was giving his all at the front, his teammates continued to ride attentively in the main group to keep Bevin out of trouble.
The Czech national road race champion showed that he was the strongest man in the breakaway, attacking solo on the last category three climb. Unfortunately, he was unable to get any more points in the Mountains Classification as he was caught just 400 meters before the top, 25 kilometers from the finish, by the Astana-led bunch.
Soon after the catch was made, CCC Team moved to the front of the peloton to set a strong pace for Bevin and, after fighting hard, the New Zealander was well-positioned when he launched his sprint on the punchy, uphill finish.
In the end, Bevin claimed his second consecutive top ten spot, crossing the line in seventh place behind winner, Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb).
Quotes from the Finish Line:
It was a tough technical run-in and I wanted to ride it from the front, which I did, right up until the last 800 meters. I got shuffled around in the hesitation before the sprint opened up and really struggled to get open space to sprint in. Race by race, I am feeling my rhythm return and I look forward to the stages ahead.
I really wanted to be in today’s breakaway since the chances were 50/50 for the attacking riders to succeed. On stages like this you never know if the peloton will control the gap or let the escapees go. Unfortunately, we had to deal with a strong headwind, which took its toll on us.
I felt very good today and I wanted to test my legs on the final climb, where I attacked. Sports Director Piotr Wadecki was behind me the entire day and I could always count on his advice and help. I am very satisfied with the form which I’ve been showing lately and I’m happy that I continue to improve.
Volta a Catalunya
Stage 2: Mataró>Sant Feliu de Guixols (166km)
Top 3: 1. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), 2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) 3. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott)
CCC Team top 3: 7. Patrick Bevin 41. Laurens Ten Dam 71. Riccardo Zoidl