Joaquim Rodriguez seized the overall victory in this year’s Volta a Catalunya today, while Lieuwe Westra claimed the 7th and final stage with a solo win in Barcelona.
Rodriguez managed to hold off a late attack from his chief rival Alberto Contador to secure a four-second victory over his fellow countryman. Meanwhile, the American rider Tejay van Garderen held onto his third place podium finish a further three seconds back.
Today’s win marked Rodriguez’s first victory in a stage race since winning the 2011 Vuelta a Burgos, and serves as a portend for this year’s Giro d’Italia.
Despite crashing earlier in the day, Chris Froome managed to recover enough to finish in the main group to solidify his sixth place finish in the general classification – 17 seconds down from Rodriguez.
How the Race Happened
An initial breakaway group of 13 riders came together in the later part of today’s race. However, that group was eventually reduced to a group of 5 escapees containing Westra (Astana), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Maciej Paterski (CCC Polsat Polkowice), Marcus Burghardt (BMC) and Yoann Bagot (Cofidis).
As the group made their way up the final climb of the Montjuic with 15 kilometers remaining, Westra decided to attack his fellow companions – quickly building up a lead that ultimately proved to be unassailable.
Behind the leaders, some of the top GC riders began making their moves within the main field in an attempt to topple overall race leader Rodriguez, who began today’s stage just 18 seconds ahead of them.
Contador was the most notable challenger, mounting a spirited attack close to the summit. However, a vigilant Rodriguez quickly chased him down, along with the rest of the group – to cross the finish line in the same time to secure his victory.
Stage 7 Results NED 1 WESTRA, Lieuwe (ASTANA) 2:36:14 GER 2 BURGHARDT, Marcus (BMC RACING) + 1:22 FRA 3 VOECKLER, Thomas (EUROPCAR) POL 4 PATERSKI, Maciej (CCC POLSAT POLKOWICE) + 1:26 FRA 5 BAGOT, Yohan (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) + 1:36 SLO 6 POLANC, Jan (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 2:07 ESP 7 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF-SAXO) FRA 8 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) FRA 9 JEANNESSON, Arnold (FDJ.fr) ESP 10 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquin (KATUSHA) DEN 11 FUGLSANG, Jakob (ASTANA) BEL 12 BAUGNIES, Jérôme (WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT) USA 13 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) USA 14 TALANSKY, Andrew (GARMIN SHARP) COL 15 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR)
Final General Classification ESP 1 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquin (KATUSHA) 29:41:34 ESP 2 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF-SAXO) + 4 USA 3 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) + 7 FRA 4 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 10 COL 5 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR) USA 6 TALANSKY, Andrew (GARMIN SHARP) + 18 ITA 7 POZZOVIVO, Domenico (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 26 FRA 8 BARGUIL, Warren (GIANT-SHIMANO) + 42 DEN 9 FUGLSANG, Jakob (ASTANA) + 1:00 NED 10 KELDERMAN, Wilco (BELKIN) + 1:01 FRA 11 PINOT, Thibaut (FDJ.fr) + 1:20 ESP 12 MATE MARDONES, Luis Angel (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) + 1:24 CAN 13 HESJEDAL, Ryder (GARMIN SHARP) + 1:26 IRL 14 MARTIN, Daniel (GARMIN SHARP) + 1:49 ESP 15 LOPEZ GARCIA, David (SKY) + 1:54
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