Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Cycling News
Cycling News
Alasdair Fotheringham

Volta a Catalunya: Tadej Pogacar completes domination with stage 7 win

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) won stage 7 of the Volta a Catalunya, and made it official with the GC as well (Image credit: Getty Images)
Tadej Pogačar of UAE Team Emirates wins stage 7 wearing the Green Leader Jersey (Image credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)
An attack by Pavel Sivakov of UAE Team Emirates during headed to finish in Barcelona (Image credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)
Georg Steinhauser of EF Education-EasyPost rides behind Harrison Wood of Team Cofidis in the breakaway (Image credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)
Marc Soler sets the pace for Tadej Pogačar during 145.3km stage 7 in Barcelona (Image credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)
Georg Steinhauser of EF Education-EasyPost on the attack (Image credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)
George Bennett of Israel-Premier Tech rides behind Laurens De Plus of Ineos Grenadiers (Image credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)
GC podium for 2024 Volta a Catalunya (L to R): second-placed Mikel Landa of Soudal-QuickStep, winner Tadej Pogačar of UAE Team Emirates and third-placed Egan Bernal of Ineos Grenadiers (Image credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)
GC runner-up Mikel Landa of Soudal-QuickStep takes a group photo on the podium (Image credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)
Race winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) celebrates at podium as Blue Points Jersey winner with La Grossa at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (Image credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)
Tadej Pogačar celebrates as stage 7 winner (Image credit: Getty Images)

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) sealed a dominant overall victory at the Volta a Catalunya with a fourth stage win of the week from the reduced bunch sprint on stage 7 in Barcelona.

The Slovenian came through late in the dash for the line to outpace Dorian Godon (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) in the closing sprint, eventually crossing the line almost a bike length ahead of his rivals.

"I'm so happy to take the win. It wasn't the original plan. Today we tried to go with Marc Soler," said Pogačar after the stage. "He went on the first lap on the climb. He did a super good job. I was trying to follow wheels and stay in front.

"João Almeida set a good pace on the climb and we were a small group in the front. He made a good attack on the last small climb and almost came to the finish. I wish he could arrive but I'm happy to take this win, too."

Pogačar lay in wait in the reduced peloton of 23 heading into the final run towards the finish line, taking it up at the front in the closing metres after his UAE teammate João Almeida had seen a move in the final kilometres closed down.

The Portuguese rider was caught just after racing under the flamme rouge, leaving the likes of Israel-Premier Tech and Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale a short window to try and set up the sprint.

Godon and Martin both hit the front along with Stephen Williams (Israel-Premier Tech) to round off a typically attacking race over the closing circuits in Montjuïc Park, but once again it was Pogačar who came through to take the spoils.

With four stage wins this week, he duly sealed the overall title on his race debut. Also the mountain and points classification winner, Pogačar wins the Volta a Catalunya by 3:41 from Mikel Landa (Soudal-QuickStep), while Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) rounds out the podium at 5:03 down.

How it unfolded

On an intermittently drizzly morning in Barcelona's Placa d'España, five riders took off from on the flat early segment of the stage. Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Harrison Wood (Cofidis) and Idar Andersen (Uno-X were the first to try their luck and then Georg Steinhauser (EF Education-Easypost) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH) completed the break of the day.

The move gained a 90-second gap as they powered onto the long, grinding Cat.3 climb of Coll de la Creu d'Ordal. Janssens crossed the summit in first place as the peloton wended its way through the Serra d'Ordal and headed down to the coast, prior to the fast dash back past the airport and into the Catalan capital.

Although the margin squeezed open slightly to just over two minutes, UAE and Israel-Premier Tech maintained a tight control on the gaps, particularly after Pogacar had said that he would try for another win. Initial fears that rain might see the stage shortened or even partly suspended for GC purposes, though, lifted as the threat of wet weather on the traditional finishing circuit through Montjuic Park that has seen more than its fair share of crashes did not materialize.

The five reached the first of the six final 7.9 kilometre laps, each including a cat2 ascent of Castell de Montjuic with ramps of up to 19%, with an advantage of 1-:27. However, just as the bunch was picking up speed to hit the Castell at full tilt, a second crash in as many days left former Volta winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar) out of the final action.

The attacks in the pack began as soon the bunch hit the circuit, but UAE used local rider Marc Soler to control things as best they could. Andersen (Uno-X Mobility) and Steinhauser (EF Education-Easypost) tried the hardest to keep the break's chances alight, swinging through the finish for the first time with a 42-second advantage.

When Soler (UAE Team Emirates) switched roles and tried to bridge across with Valentin Paret-Peintre (Decathlon-AG2R), with Pogačar in control mode behind in the pack, it produced something of a stalemate. That said, with the gaps at less than a minute, the outcome of what is traditionally one of the most turbulent stages of the race was far from certain.

Steinhauser opted to make a solo effort with less than four laps to go, and as Soler pounded on determinedly with his two-up counter-attack, sweeping up a fading Andersen in the process. But the intermediate trio were then quickly captured by an Ineos Grenadiers and Israel-led peloton, and a visibly struggling Steinhauser made it to the summit of the Alt de Castell one last time, he was well within sight of a much-reduced bunch as he did so.

All of the main favourites were in the front group of 40 riders with one former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas doing much of the spadework for another, teammate Egan Bernal. Hunched over the frame to eke out as much advantage as possible on the fast, sweeping descent, Steinhauser maintained his minimal gap as the race came through the finish with two laps to go, but with 14.4 kilometres to go, he was finally caught.

A gutsy move by Kern Pharma's Pablo Castillo fizzled out almost as quickly as it had begun, and another by Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) had equally little effect, except to see Pogacar chase it down in person. The surging move by the Slovenian gained a rapid response from Bernal and Stephen Williams (Israel-Premier Tech), but the margins were minimal and a front group of some 20 riders briefly reformed on the fast downhill.

The group swelled again on the descent to the finish line as dropped riders came back to the front of the race for the final 8km. However, the road would soon rear uphill again, for the last time in the race.

UAE Team Emirates led the way onto the climb, their plan briefly interrupted by Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Dstny) as the veteran Belgian struck out for glory in his final kilometres at a race where he's won five stages in the past.

Stephen Williams (Israel-Premier Tech) struck out on the counter as De Gendt was caught 6km from the line, and over the top of the climb he was joined by a select group including Tadej Pogačar, Enric Mas, and Egan Bernal.

On the way down, the front of the peloton came back into it, making it a larger group in the lead, from which João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) launched an attack with 3km to go. He'd be brought back just inside the final kilometre, leaving the chasing pack to briefly set up the sprint before dashing to the line.


Results powered by FirstCycling

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.