De Marchi Fifth on Chaotic Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 625. March 2017, Reus (ESP) — Road Team
The penultimate day of racing at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya saw Alessandro De Marchi finish fifth following a late attack and Tejay van Garderen move up the General Classification after the peloton split early on stage 6.
The speed of the peloton on the descent of the day’s first categorized climb, Alt de Bot, saw the race split in two with 53 riders, including De Marchi and van Garderen, in the first group.
The gap continued to rise kilometer by kilometer, and as it reached over seven minutes with 70km remaining of the 189.7km stage, it was clear that stage 6 would come down to a battle between those riders in the front group.
Heading onto the slopes of the final, category one climb of the day, Alt de la Musara, the leading group kept the pace high and eventually around 25 riders crested the summit of the climb together before a high-speed descent to the finish line in Reus.
With 15km to go, Alessandro De Marchi attacked alongside Dario Cataldo (Astana), and the pair worked together to push the bunch behind to their limit. Heading under the flamme rouge, the Italian duo were holding onto a lead of over 10 seconds, but the bunch was in hot pursuit.
In the end, they were caught just meters before the line with Daryl Impey (Orica-Scott) able to move around the side of the group to take the stage win as De Marchi crossed the line fifth after an impressive effort in the closing stages of the day.
Tejay van Garderen also finished in the front group and now sits fifth overall, 1’24” behind Valverde, with only the final stage in Barcelona remaining.
Samuel Sánchez and Brent Bookwalter were part of the second group on the road that finished 26’38” back while Kilian Frankiny and Joey Rosskopf crossed the line in the third group.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Alessandro De Marchi:
"At the start it was crazy. We went onto the first climb really fast, and as we went over the top, we found a bit of wet road. On the downhill, the pace was really fast, and that was when the bunch split and Tejay van Garderen and I made it into the front group. From that moment, we were riding really fast as Team Sky were behind and the other teams wanted to try and put as much distance as possible between the two groups. I think we rode full gas for almost two hours."
"When the time had risen to about 4 minutes, we knew the job was done and the second race of the day could begin. For us, it was important for me to help Tejay stay safe and to conserve his place on the General Classification because we were now going for one position higher. After the tricky downhill, the race was almost over, so I found Dario Cataldo (Astana), and we decided to try something, and we were able to jump off the front of the group fairly easily."
"It was almost perfect for me, but then I had a small flat on the last kilometer, and maybe I waited too long to sprint, but you never know if you don't try and I was feeling good. The whole day was really hard, but I am used to this type of day. It was just like being in a breakaway, and I have a lot of experience being in that position. I knew that all the guys in the final would be really tired so, it was just about trying to take a few seconds advantage and to see what could happen."
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
"It was a mixed day for us, I think. We saw narrow roads like at the start of the stage yesterday so, I thought something could potentially happen today, but I definitely didn't predict that it could have an impact on the General Classification. It was twisting, wet roads and then somewhere along the opening section of the race, the group split in two and then again into three."
"Of course, it was good that we were represented in the front with Tejay van Garderen and Alessandro De Marchi, but it was also a shame to lose Samuel Sánchez' position on the overall General Classification as he was in the second group with Brent Bookwalter. Then, we had Joey Rosskopf and Kilian Frankiny in third group who finished out of time but I think there were a lot of teams who got caught got out and who are in a similar situation to us."
"On the other hand, we got to move up one place overall with van Garderen, so we limited our losses in that sense. Plus De Marchi, who has done a great job all week, made an excellent move at the end. He looked super strong, and we thought this was his day, but it just wasn't meant to be on the line."
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
Stage 6: Tortosa > Reus, 189.7km
Top 3: 1. Daryl Impey (Orica-Scott) 2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) 3. Arthur Vichot (FDJ)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 5. Alessandro De Marchi 31. Tejay van Garderen 87. Brent Bookwalter