Winner of the 2013 edition of the race, Dan Martin is set to lead Quick Step Floors at the seven-day Volta Ciclista a Catalunya this week (2.UWT).
The fourth oldest stage race on the calendar which will have its 97th edition this year, will once again test the overall contenders on two summit finishes, La Molina – where 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.
This year’s edition will also see 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 make up the lost time later in the week.
Third recently at Paris-Nice, Martin finished on the podium one year ago, thanks to his 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 Vakoc, 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 Vakoc, they too will have a personal shot at a good result”, said Directeur Sportif Geert Van Bondt, who also stressed 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.”
Quick Step Floors team for Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (2.UWT)
Gianluca Brambilla (ITA)
Rémi Cavagna (FRA)
Laurens De Plus (BEL)
Daniel Martin (IRL)
Enric Mas (ESP)
Maximilian Schachmann (GER)
Pieter Serry (BEL)
Petr Vakoc (CZE)