3.25.2014

Volta a Catalunya 2: Soacked Souls (and Mezgec again)

Wet road, wheels' reflections on the concrete, rainjakets mostly black covering the coloured jersey and making the peloton anonimous. Two orange blots in the break-away, some green and white: Belkov, Koch, Voeckler, Marczynski, Rutkiewick and Baugines.
Dark gray sky. Compact clouds. Riders ride in soacked clothes and commentators talk about materials.  Zubeldia, Seeldraeyers and Clarke abandoned while Hondo didn't start today. Richie Porte - still half sick after Tirreno abandon - is forced again to retire.
Painful stage. You can't tell it's 'hard' - riders face way harder conditions - but still it's annoying and you can feel souls are soacked too, heavy and swollen.
26 km to go Voeckler decides is enough and goes away solo. Yellow cars' lights in the misty humid air. He has no hope. Break caught, Voeckler still away.  Large flat roads, roundabout, the peloton splitting left and right, a crash and some coloured blots on the gray ground. Nothing serious it seems but the body hurts. Back on bike, the chase is one: Tinkoff and Sky at the front, devouring the gap. Tunnels covered in grass. Voeckler caught 5 to go.
Bunch sprint and Mezgec - in the leader jersey - does it again. He said he's going to defend it and he definitely did.

What Luka Mezgec said:
“My sprint has really come on after working hard over the winter with the team coaches and experts and it’s great to feel the hard work paying off now. I have to thank my teammates for their hard work again today. It is never easy when it is wet and cold but they were great. The hills we fine today, much easier than on paper. We had to push hard to get Voeckler back in the end but after that it wasn’t too hectic as the race was strung out and the guys had put me in position. I was freezing on the bike on the downhill at the end and was a bit unsure of how the legs would react in the sprint. At 500m to go I was not in perfect position but when I jumped my legs were good.”

What Simon Clarke said:
"Unfortunately I had 2 stop in Catalunya today as I have been nursing a sore knee from MSR.Need 2get it looked at n sorted. Will b back soon!"

What Richie Porte said:
"I'm obviously not 100 percent. After my illness at Tirreno I went home and just haven't quite been able to get over it. Training is one thing, but when you come to the race there's nowhere to hide. Unfortunately today I had to stop but I think long-term I'll be able to go back, get healthy, recover and re-start my season."

MORE TO COME

RESULTS
STAGE

1 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Shimano 3:57:49
2 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
3 Daniele Ratto (Ita) Cannondale
4 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
5 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team
6 Davide Vigano (Ita) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
7 Boris Vallee (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8 Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol
9 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
10 Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice 0:00:03
11 Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
12 Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ.fr
13 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
14 Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
15 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
16 Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Cannondale
17 Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
18 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
19 Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
20 Michel Koch (Ger) Cannondale
GC

1 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Shimano 8:06:42
2 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:14
3 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
4 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:16
5 Daniele Ratto (Ita) Cannondale
6 Boris Vallee (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:00:18
7 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team 0:00:20
8 Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol
9 Davide Vigano (Ita) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
10 Michel Koch (Ger) Cannondale
11 Maxim Belkov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:00:21
12 Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:22
13 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:23
14 Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
15 Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
16 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
17 Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida
18 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
19 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
20 Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
21 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
22 Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek Factory Racing
23 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale

MOUNTAIN

Romain Lemarchand (Fra) Cofidis
POINTS
1 Boris Vallee (Bel) Lotto BelisolYOUTH
TEAM
1 Lotto Belisol

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