Volta a Catalunya stage 2: Tadej Pogačar decimates opponents to win alone atop Vallter 2000

New race leader makes his first attack with 164km to ride, before making his decisive move 6.5km from the summit of high-altitude climb

Clock15:54, Tuesday 19th March 2024
Tadej Pogačar made amends for disappointment from the opening stage and mastered the miserable conditions on Vallter 2000

© Getty Images

Tadej Pogačar made amends for disappointment from the opening stage and mastered the miserable conditions on Vallter 2000

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) won stage 2 of the Volta a Catalunya in style, clipping off the front of the peloton twice before making his final decisive move on the slopes of Vallter 2000. Nobody could match his acceleration as he rode alone for the final 6.5km to the summit.

The Slovenian's confidence became clear when he flashed a grin towards the camera as he descended the penultimate climb. But his final and race-winning move came on the slopes of Vallter 2000, when he attacked under torrential rain and would not be seen again until the finish.

Pogačar eventually came over the line 1:23 ahead of the next riders on the road, with Mikel Landa (Soudal Quick-Step) coming home in second place, shortly followed by Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Read more: Aleksandr Vlasov set to stay with Primož Roglič and extend his contract at Bora-Hansgrohe

Behind the front three, João Almeida rounded off a great day for UAE Team Emirates in fourth place, with Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) sealing fifth, some 1:42 down on the day's winner.

"We started with the really nice weather, it was like summer and then we saw big clouds," Pogačar told Eurosport at the finish. "We were thinking 'maybe we can survive until the final climb without rain,' but unfortunately it started to rain already on the second to last climb and the conditions were really tough.

"It is a really hard climb and also on altitude, you could feel already the high altitude, so it was a really tough finish but I am happy to win."

Pogačar now holds the race lead heading into stage 3, with a 1:35 advantage over second-placed Landa and 1:38 over Vlasov in third. Martinez, meanwhile, has a 27-second advantage over Pablo Castrillo (Equipo Kern Pharma) in the young rider's classification.

How it unfolded

Where there is Tadej Pogačar, there is rarely boredom, that much could be seen a whopping 164km from the finish of Tuesday's stage when he and his UAE Team Emirates teammate Domen Novak mounted a wildly unexpected attack.

Some 16km after the day's breakaway had gathered, the UAE Team Emirates pair clipped off the front of the bunch and began to eat into the break's six-minute advantage. The move was extinguished by the peloton after 5km, but it had certainly put Pogačar's rivals on notice: Vallter 2000 may soon prove his playground.

As for the breakaway itself, it was a six-man move consisting of Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Kevin Colleoni (Intermarché-Wanty), Samuel Fernández (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Álex Jaime (Equipo Kern Pharma), Jambaljamts Sainbayar (Burgos-BH) and Xabier Isasa (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

Their advantage over the pack reached a maximum of almost seven minutes, but they were all comfortably caught well in advance of the finish. Pogačar was back to his usual tricks on the descent of the penultimate climb (Coll de Coubet, 9.6km at 5.2%), clipping off the front of the peloton and turning to the motorbike camera with a cheeky grin.

"At the start, that was a pretty fun moment with Domen but then in the final on the downhill, I was really feeling comfortable on the downhill and I just went on my own pace, nothing special," explained Pogačar after the finish.

UAE Team Emirates were incredibly well positioned and with Pogačar back in their midst once more, the peloton pushed on as the Vallter 2000 climb neared. Janssens was the last to be caught, before Pogačar made his decisive attack 6.5km from the finish.

As the television pictures faltered, so too did Pogačar's rivals, who watched the Slovenian go solo up the road. Behind him, the likes of Cian Uijtdebroeks (Visma-Lease a Bike), Mikel Landa and Lenny Martinez all scrambled, but to little avail.

Explore more about the Volta a Catalunya on our dedicated race page.

Race Results

1

si flag

POGACAR Tadej

UAE Team Emirates

4H 52' 37"

2

es flag

LANDA Mikel

Soudal Quick-Step

+ 1' 23"

3

ru flag

VLASOV Aleksandr

BORA-hansgrohe

+ 1' 24"

4

pt flag

ALMEIDA Joao

UAE Team Emirates

+ 1' 38"

5

fr flag

MARTINEZ Lenny

Groupama-FDJ

+ 1' 43"

6

au flag

HARPER Chris

Team Jayco-AlUla

+ 1' 44"

7

co flag

BERNAL Egan

INEOS Grenadiers

+ 1' 47"

8

es flag

MAS Enric

Movistar Team

+ 1' 49"

9

nl flag

POELS Wout

Bahrain Victorious

+ 2' 03"

10

es flag

DIAZ Jose Manuel

Burgos-BH

"

Provided by FirstCycling

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