The 102nd edition of Volta a Catalunya will see teams racing 1194km over seven stages where GC riders will battle it out on stages 2, 3, 5, and 7, while stages 1, 4 and 6 are suited for the sprinters.
Stage 2 will be the first test for the GC with an Hors Categorie finish line climb on the Valter and help shape the contenders for this year’s podium, while stage 3 offers another HC climb before the Category 1 climb to La Molina to finish the stage.
Stage 5 will see another big test with the HC classified climb up to Lo Port before another final GC test in Barcelona, where they will take on six laps of the city, climbing Montjuic on each pass.
The team has several GC candidates who have shown improving form in recent races, with Mikel Landa, Jack Haig, and Gino Mäder all having the credentials to challenge for a podium place on a route like this.
Sports Director Xavier Florencio will be familiar with the challenging terrains on his local race: “This year’s Volta a Catalunya will be harder than last year’s as there will be three stages with long climbs and a mountain finish. Also, the last stage will be difficult, with six laps and six climbs to mount Montjuic; it’s a short but steep climb. There are also three sprint/breakaway stages. Our team doesn’t have a sprinter this year, but we will be strong in the mountains. Our co-leaders are Mikel Landa, who showed he’s in good shape at Tirreno-Adriatico, and Gino Mäder, who proved himself in Paris – Nice. Our road captain will be Jack Haig, and he’ll support Mikel and Gino in the mountains. Wout Poels and Hermann Pernsteiner will be supporting and positioning in the last climbs, and stay as much as they can with our leaders. Yukiya Arashiro and Rainer Kepplinger will be utilized for flat support and early climbs. Our riders that are not contesting for GC will try to get a good result through breakaways. We have a strong team for the mountain stages, and our goal is to win a stage and be on the final podium.”
Mikel Landa: “I’m very motivated for the Volta a Catalunya. It’s a very good race, and it fits very well for me because the parcour has three uphill finishes. Also, I’m in good shape. I felt good during Tirreno – Adriatico, so here it should be the same. The team around me is very good. We have very strong riders for the mountains, so we will enjoy this week.”