Volta a Catalunya 2016 – Stage 7 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Volta a Catalunya 2016 – Stage 7 Preview

By David Hunter

Barcelona – Barcelona 136.4km

The final stage approaches.

volta 7a

This stage does give a last opportunity for the GC riders, but it’s difficult to make big gaps.

e7

The early climbs are not important, this is all about the lap circuit featuring Montjuic.

volta 7b

The climb is 2km at 5.7%, with a maximum of 8%. It is hard, but riders with power can compete with the GC riders. Last year, the front group contained 31 riders, with Bryan Coquard finishing a surprising 2nd. The climbs took enough out of him, so Valverde was able to beat him to the line.

In 2013 and 2014, the breakaway was successful. Movistar controlled it last year, with the clear objective of taking a stage win for Valverde. Of the GC riders, Dan Martin, is clearly the fastest finisher. It’s in the best interests of Etixx to control the race and see if Martin can move onto the podium, thanks to bonus seconds. Of the other riders in the top 30, Ilnur Zakarin and Jarlinson Pantano are fast finishers.

If Coquard made it in 2015, Simon Gerrans should survive in 2016. However, it doesn’t seem that Gerrans is on top form. If he was, he would have taken a few stages this week. Going against the puncheurs is the current GC battle. Contador is just 7 seconds behind Quintana, if he can take 1 second in an intermediate sprint, he needs to finish 2nd on the stage for the overall win, he would then win on count back.

This should mean that Tinkoff are happy to set a fierce pace, dropping most of the peloton. 8 laps gives them plenty time to get the bunch nice and small. It will still be a huge ask for Contador to finish 2nd on the stage, but they will try. They won’t be able to drop Quintana, he’s too good for that, so claiming bonus seconds is there only hope. This should kill the hopes of the breakaway.

Prediction Time

The main beneficiary of Tinkoff’s work will be Dan Martin, clearly the fastest of the GC men. I think we’ll see the Etixx man take his 2nd stage win of the week. I think Contador will try but fail, much like in Paris-Nice.

David Hunter

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