Bohli in the Breakaway Before Bunch Sprint on Stage 1 in Catalunya19. March 2018, Calella (ESP) — Road Team
Despite the summit of a category 3 climb coming with less than 20km remaining, the opening stage of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya came down a sprint for the line with Tejay van Garderen and his BMC Racing Team teammates finishing safely behind the eventual winner, Álvaro José Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors).
Earlier in the day, Tom Bohli was part of the day’s six-rider breakaway that was given the freedom to go clear and extend an advantage over the rest of the field after just 10km of the 152.3km course.
Behind Bohli, the rest of BMC Racing Team was sitting together comfortably in the bunch as the gap went out to more than three minutes over the opening 40km of rolling terrain that made up the majority of the stage.
However with a bunch sprint up for grabs when the race headed back into the center of Calella, the peloton soon regained control and slowly began to reel in Bohli and the rest of the early leaders.
Approaching the 30km to go mark, and with the wind picking up, the peloton was trailing by just one minute and a handful of kilometers later Bohli dropped back from the breakaway to rejoin his teammates in the peloton.
There was just one rider left hanging off the front as the race headed towards the bottom of the Port de Collsacreu, the day’s only categorized climb with an average gradient of around 5%, and the race was eventually brought back together before the summit.
After a solo attack for the KOM points, the peloton stuck together on the fast descent and an intense pace neutralized any opportunity for a late attack as the road began to flatten out towards the line.
With the bunch sprint inevitable, the battle for position began inside the final 5km with Álvaro José Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors) winning the drag race for the line ahead of Sam Bennett and Jay McCarthy (both BORA-hansgrohe).
Danilo Wyss was in the mix in the closing meters of the day and was BMC Racing Team’s best-placed rider, crossing the line just outside the top ten in 11th place.
After finishing second at the first intermediate sprint of the day and then doing one better to win the second, Bohli will head into stage 2 as leader of the Points Classification.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“It was a hard day but I felt really good and I was able to win one intermediate sprint and finish second in the other. As the bunch was starting to catch us I decided to sit up and wait to stay in the group with the rest of the guys as finishing in the bunch with five bonus seconds would have put me, and the team, in a good position on the GC. Unfortunately, I got a flat on the downhill and it was impossible to make contact after that because the pace was so fast. That was a pity but I am looking forward to the rest of the race. I will keep looking for opportunities to do something again and will work hard for the team.”
"It was a really fast final but I knew what to expect coming into the finish as I was fifth on pretty much the same stage here in 2013. We had a strong tailwind for the last 5km on the coast and Quick-Step Floors did a very fast lead out in the last 2km and no one was really moving. I think everyone stayed in the position that they were in from 1km to go. It was an okay result for me but it was definitely good to be in the mix again. It was a good test for me and we will see if there are any more opportunities in the next few days but for sure, we are going to have some really hard racing over the stages to come"
Tejay van Garderen:
“I feel pretty good. Today was probably the most straightforward sprint day of the week but it was definitely fast out there and there were some nerves in the bunch due to the wind and also it is the first day of racing. Everything went pretty smoothly for me. It was good to get a feel for the speed and the bunch. It’s good to be back.”
Sports Director, Valerio Piva:
“The plan was to have someone in the breakaway and so this morning I asked the guys to do this. Of course, Tejay is our leader here but everyone has the opportunity to take a chance. Tom was able to jump in a good move and also take some bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints. Danilo also had a go in the final which was good. Behind the breakaway, we wanted to stay around Tejay which we did and everyone finished safely. Tomorrow could be a similar stage to today but from stage 3 the battle really begins.”
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
Stage 1: Calella > Calella, 152.3km
Top 3: 1. Álvaro José Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors) 2. Sam Bennett (BORA-handsgrohe) 3. Jay McCarthy (BORA-hansgrohe)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 11. Danilo Wyss 29. Joey Rosskopf 44. Tejay van Garderen