De Gendt takes breakaway win in style as Yates wins Volta Catalunya

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) made the most of his opportunity from the breakaway on the final stage of Volta a Catalunya, jumping away from fellow escapee Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Victorious) on the final circuit of a hilly route around Barcelona.

100th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2021 - Stage 7, Thomas de Gendt

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) wins Stage 7 of Volta Catalunya Source: Getty

De Gendt had struggled to stay with Mohoric on the descents, with the Slovenian displaying his trademark 'supertuck', soon to be outlawed by the UCI, and gapping the Belgian hard man.

De Gendt took things into his own hands on the final climb of Montjuïc launching his attack over the steepest part of the course, immediately putting a big gap into Mohoric.

The Belgian pushed his advantage out and he was able to take the victory comfortably in the end, saluting across the finish line for his fifth stage victory at the Spanish WorldTour race.

"I really like the Volta a Catalunya and with five stage victories under my belt, the race seems to suit me really well", said De Gendt. “I just like the terrain and the variety of stages. I was really disappointed that the race couldn't take place last year due to the known circumstances.

"Fortunately, I'm back this year and I could grab another stage win. It is my ninth participation in this stage race and I am successful on almost every occasion. So you can state that the Volta a Catalunya really is a race made for me.”

De Gendt knew the final stage well from previous experience after taking his first stage victory at Volta a Catalunya in Barcelona back in 2013.

"In 2013, I also won the closing stage and it feels really special to win in an iconic city like Barcelona," said De Gendt. "I have to admit that I didn't feel great the first few days into the race, but the past days, I could definitely feel some improvement. It turned out that I had a really good day today and that resulted in this nice stage win."

Initial aggression on the short 133-kilometre stage was shut down by the peloton, before a big group jumped clear of the peloton with 70 kilometres remaining in the race.

The peloton eased up, the breakaway stretched out its lead into the final six laps of the 7.8 kilometre circuit. The pace was consistent until Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain Victorious) broke the peace on the first ascent of Alto du Montjuïc. The Austrian's attack was short-lived as he was recovered by the chasing group before an attack by de Gendt.

The Belgian race animator took off solo up the steep 16 per cent slopes of the climb cresting the punchy incline and setting off down the descent where he was joined by Mohoric.

While Mohoric was able to gap de Gendt on descents, he would wait for the breakaway specialist to catch up rather than press his advantage. With that fact well-known, de Gendt had to make the difference on the climb, and he did so emphatically, powering away up the steepest section to forge his race-winning gap.

Behind, there were a few accelerations from within the peloton with Movistar trying to up the pressure from the front of the main bunch. This saw the bunch significantly reduced, but the top favourites were able to keep pace over severe, but short pinches of the Alto du Montjuïc.

The only rider in the top 10 on the general classification dislodged was Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), allowing Australian Lucas Hamilton (Team BikeExchange) to pop up into tenth overall.

It was a 1-2-3 for INEOS Grenadiers with Adam Yates finishing 45 seconds ahead of Australian Richie Porte, with Geraint Thomas third a further 4 seconds adrift.

Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Have a story or comment? Contact Us

Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Watch nowOn Demand
Follow SBS Sport
4 min read
Published 29 March 2021 at 1:17am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS