There was a mouthwatering array of talent, both established stars and up-and-comers, to contest the 97th edition of the Volta a Catalunya, which featured some fine racing along with time-penalties, trolling, a snow-shortened stage, echelons, Merckx-like time gaps and over 40 riders outside the time limit. Despite this, Alejandro Valverde sensationally soloed to victory in Friday’s queen stage for the overall lead and won the final stage to take his second title, ahead of this and last year’s runner-up, Alberto Contador, and his third-placed Movistar teammate Marc Soler.
It’s been a stonking race. Seizing the maglia azzurra with his solo win on the Terminillo stage, Nairo Quintana conquered the summits and seas to lift that magnificent trident trophy for the second time. He was pushed all the way to the line by Rohan Dennis, the winner of the final ITT stage, which propelled the Australian TT champion above third-placed Thibaut Pinot.
It’s been a rip-roaring edition of Paris-Nice! Sergio Henao took his first overall WorldTour victory and continued Team Sky’s domination in this race (five wins in last six editions). Taking a 30-second lead with a fourth place in Saturday’s penultimate stage, today he rode a gutsy race to save his lead by a two-second margin – the smallest ever – over Alberto Contador, who went hell for leather in the last part of the stage to try to dislodge Henao and he very nearly did it. Dan Martin rounded out the podium.