Adam Yates: 'No one expected Ineos to be 1-2-3 on the podium' at Volta a Catalunya

The Briton held onto the jersey from stage three until the end, describing it as a "special feeling" to win the Catalan race

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Adam Yates hailed a "perfect week" for himself and Ineos Grenadiers as he won the Volta a Catalunya with two team-mates joining him on the podium.

The Briton, who won the race's first summit finish atop Vallter 2000 on stage three, sealed victory comfortably in Barcelona on Sunday, winning by 45 seconds from Richie Porte with Geraint Thomas four seconds further back.

It is Yates' first general classification victory for Ineos, having only joined this winter, and follows a second place on GC at the UAE Tour.

Victory for the 28-year-old, who wore the yellow jersey in the 2020 Tour de France for four stages, is the fourth GC victory of his career, but none have been as dominant as this one.

"To win so early in the season is a really special feeling and to share the podium with two of your teammates is even more special. What more can you say?" he said.

"It’s a perfect week. We set off with big ambitions, we wanted to win the race, but I don’t think any of us expected to be 1-2-3 on the podium.

"It just goes to show that all of the hard work that, not just from the climbers but from the guys on the flat as well, keeping us out of trouble and looking after us. All-in-all a perfect week."

Yates finished an impressive seventh in the individual time trial on stage two, and two days later rolled home fourth at Port Ainé, the race's second mountain-top finish.

But the final stage in Barcelona was as challenging as the preceding six stages. "It was going to be a really hard day like I had been saying," he commented.

"The climb was a little longer and harder than the last couple of years but like we have shown all week we had everything under control, we had guys in the final to control the race and we did."

Thomas, meanwhile, surprised himself with his spot on the podium, coming much earlier in the season that he had expected.

The Welshman, who this summer will be aiming to emulate his 2018 Tour de France win, said: "It was good to back on a podium in a WorldTour race.

"To be honest, it was never really a goal at the start of the year to be going quite so well so early but I have been working hard, and each race I have got better and better.

"The team here has been incredible as you have seen on the road. Morale is good, I’m enjoying racing with the boys, and it’s unbelievable really to have a win with three. It’s an amazing feeling.

"It’s always nice for the confidence to get a good result so I will keep working hard now, improving, and I still feel like I have a lot of improving to come."

Yates will next target the Tour of the Basque Country in a week, while Thomas is set to head to altitude training in Tenerife before his next racing assignment is the Tour de Romandie, beginning at the end of April.

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