Bernal holds firm in Catalunya

26 Mar 2019

Bernal holds firm in Catalunya

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Volta a Catalunya – Stage two: Mataro – Sant Feliu de Guixols, 166.7km

Egan Bernal retained his strong overall position on the Volta a Catalunya general classification while Chris Froome battled on following a crash on stage two.
 
Bernal finished 12th on the tough uphill sprint to the line to remain two minutes and 57 seconds back on race leader Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal). Dropping two places on the day courtesy of time bonuses for his rivals, Bernal sits seventh overall, just 10 seconds behind second-placed Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
 
Team Sky arrived at the head of the race ahead of the final 10km, and despite Bernal narrowly missing out on a bonus second at the last intermediate sprint, the team placed the Colombian in a strong position ahead of the finale. Pavel Sivakov drove the pace on the final climb, before closing down attacks on the descent into Sant Feliu de Guixols.
 
The stage proved to be tougher for Froome, who went down at a pinch point with 36km to go, losing some skin in the process. Not targeting the GC this week in Spain, Froome was able to quickly remount and finished the stage at his own pace.
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- Nicolas Portal

"Froomey crashed just a couple of kilometres before we passed the finish line for the first time. He still doesn't really know what happened but it was a tricky corner, which had a few roadworks on the right and was also quite bumpy. Someone hit him and he slid and crashed. By the time he changed bike and got going the bunch was going too fast and there was no chance to come back. He is here to support Egan this week but it is a shame it happened.

"We could not ask another one of our guys to wait because we knew if we did this we'd have two riders less on the final climb. Today it was really important for Egan to have that support. It was a technical finish and we knew there could be some splits. Froomey said himself for the guys to stay at the front. Obviously we will monitor him but it seems like Froomey is okay."

What's Next?

The GC battle steps up a notch or two with the first summit finish of the race at Vallter 2000. The ski resort above Girona provides a tough, beyond category climb and should see the overall contenders arrive at the fore. 
Stage two result:

1. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) 4:09:34
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) s.t.
3. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott)
4. Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe)
5. Odd Christian Eiking (Wanty-Gobert)
12. Egan Bernal (Team Sky)

Overall standings:

1. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) 8:23:50
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +2:47"
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) +2:48"
4. Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) s.t.
5. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) +2:54"
7. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) +2:57"

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