Quick-Step Floors Team to Volta a Catalunya
The season’s ninth World Tour event will take place between 20-26 March, over a course which will favour the climbers.
The fourth oldest stage race on the calendar will run this year its 97th edition, which will once again test the overall contenders on two summit finishes, La Molina – where Dan Martin took his first World Tour victory in the Quick-Step Floors kit, one year ago – and Lo Port, which is set to host a stage arrival for the first time in 26 years.
Main news at the 2017 Volta a Catalunya is the return of the team time trial; at 41.3 kilometers, is one of the longest in race history, and should create some pretty big gaps in the general classification. On the other hand, its presence so early in the race, on the second day, means that the climbers will have plenty of opportunities to return in the game and make up the lost time later in the week.
Third recently at Paris-Nice, Dan Martin will lead Quick-Step Floors at the seven-day Spanish race, which he finished on the podium one year ago, thanks to his resplendent performance on La Molina. The 2013 winner will be joined by Gianluca Brambilla – the only rider to score stage victories at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España in 2016 – Laurens De Plus, Pieter Serry, Petr Vakoč, and neo-pros Rémi Cavagna, Enric Mas and Maximilian Schachmann, all Klein Constantia alumni, who are set to race together for the first time this season.
"We have big ambitions with Dan, he already proved his form in Paris-Nice and we are confident we can get another nice result. The entire team is here for him, but with some stages suited to the skills of Brambilla and Vakoč, they too will have a personal shot at a good result", said sport director Geert Van Bondt, who also stressed out the importance of the stage 2 team time trial: "We are aware it can play a big role in the final outcome of the Volta a Catalunya, so our goal is to be in the top 3 there. Two mountain top finishes will come later in the race, but if you lose around half a minute in the TTT, it's going to be difficult to take that time back, so we'll make our homework and give everything on that day."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele