27-year old Czech rider Jan Barta (NetApp) triumphed in the final individual time trial – his team having already won the earlier team time trail – to take the overall win in this year’s edition of Coppi e Bartali. Various members of the team had graced the leader’s jersey since the second day’s team time trial. This overall performance rather confirms RCS’s decision to award the team a Giro wild card and silences the doubters.
The team rode a canny race. Apart from winning the two time trials outright, they kept their riders well positioned throughout and, as a consequence, placed not one, but two riders on the podium. Second overall was Barta’s Polish teammate Bartosz Huzarski, while double stage winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-ISD) was third.
After a storming E3 Harelbeke started the week of Belgian Classics off with a bang and a Boonen, Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem sees many of the same riders taking to the road to put more climbs and kilometres into their legs in preparation for the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) on April 1st. Defending champion Tom Boonen is in incredible form and will be looking to go 2-0 over Fabian Cancellara in this weekend’s racing.
What kind of race is it?
This 235km one-day classic, traditionally ridden on the Sunday before Ronde, is the most sprinter-friendly of the Belgian classics due to its flat finish – and certainly last year’s top five and a glance at the list of winners bears this out, although the 11 climbs doesn’t necessarily make a bunch sprint inevitable. Continue reading
Location of Catalunya
The first cycling club in Catalonia, Velocipedic of Barcelona, was founded in 1884 which led to the establishment of the Esport Ciclista Catalan. Nine years later the 400m Bonanova velodrome was built and was regarded as Europe’s finest. There followed the Reus velodrome and then the Lleida velodrome in 1896.
In 1897 the Catalan Cycling Union was set up to govern all cycling activities in the region. 1911 saw the birth of the famous Volta a Catalunya, the third-oldest stage race, after the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, which now occupies the date in the calendar of another Catalan race, La Setmana Catalana de Ciclismo which started in 1963. The other well-known race from the region was the Escalada a Montjuic which commenced in 1965.