The five-day Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana starts this Wednesday and the race opens and closes with projected sprint stages. Two climbing stages and a team time trial are sandwiched between the likely sprints.
EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale’s seven-man roster for the 69th edition of the race has been built around their two new sprinter signings.
“I think Valencia is a really good opportunity for us to start playing a little bit with our new sprint capabilities in Dan McLay and Sacha Modolo,” said EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “That’s what I’m looking for this week more so than a general classification performance.”
Pierre Rolland represents the only true climber on the seven-man squad, which largely consists of Classics riders – all of whom will race for the first time this season in Valencia.
“For the climbing days, stage two and stage four, we can go into the breakaways,” said Directeur Sportif Ken Vanmarcke. “We’ll see what’s possible. Maybe on the second stage the break has a real chance to stay in the front, and even if not, then somebody gets a really good training day.”
EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale held its annual training camp in Girona in the build-up to the race and the days were filled with photo shoots, POC helmet fittings, Cannondale product information sessions, all sorts of team meetings and sponsor meet-and-greets.
“For this team at this time, my expectations are somewhat tempered as they’re coming off a busy training camp,” said Vaughters.
However, Vanmarcke has higher expectations: “With the two sprinters we have there, we have to go for a win. There are two sprint stages, and we tried everything on the Parcmotor Castelloí circuit last Thursday. We have to go full on the sprint days.”
McLay eagerly anticipates the challenge.
“Between me and Sacha, I expect we’ll find our way and have a good go in the sprints,” said the Manxman. “There will be a little bit of learning, but there’s no point in hesitating. We’ll give it our best effort.”
EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale for 2018 Volta Valenciana:
Matti Breschel (DEN)
Sebastian Langeveld (NLD)
Dan McLay (GBR)
Sacha Modolo (ITA)
Pierre Rolland (FRA)
Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL)
Sep Vanmarcke (BEL)