Andreas Kron takes the opening stage of Volta a Catalunya 2021 as late break makes it

The young Danish rider showed his attacking style yet again before beating his fellow break partners in the sprint

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Andreas Kron took stage one of the 100th Volta a Catalunya ahead of the Spanish champion Luis León Sánchez into Calella.

Kron (Lotto-Soudal) went on the attack on multiple occasions before getting away late on with Sánchez (Astana-Premier Tech) as well as Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Rémy Rochas (Cofidis), who he managed to out-sprint at the end.

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The day was a fast one with Bora-Hansgrohe starting the work on the front for Peter Sagan before Movistar took over on the biggest climb of the day, dropping Sagan and many others. The Spanish team continued the pace on the descent but the attacks came on the valley bottom with the decisive move.

Kron now leads the overall standings with the same time as the three other riders in the break and a further 16 seconds to the chasing peloton as they head into the individual time trial on Tuesday's stage two.

How it happened

The stage started and finished in Calella after taking in three categorised climbs over a 178.4km loop that finished on the flat.

Four riders went up the road early on in the day, including Natnael Berhane (Cofidis), Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto-Soudal), Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and Gotzon Martín (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who established a maximum gap of around four minutes.

Image by Volta a Catalunya

The pace was relatively high for most of the stage with Bora-Hansgrohe working hard for Sagan who was looking like he was coming into form after an excellent fourth place at Milan-San Remo on Saturday.

But, with 65km to go Movistar came to the front en masse quickly seeing Sagan going out of the back as they hit the second and highest climb of the day, the Port de Santa Fe del Montseny.

The break was caught just after the peak with Moniquet the only rider left after he went solo to take maximum points in the mountains jersey competition on the climb.

Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) was yoyoing on and off the back of the peloton until 48km to go when he lost touch leaving his leaders of Michael Woods and Dan Martin up near the front.

Movistar led all the way down the descent with riders attacking on the valley road at the bottom with Andreas Kron making a move with 28km to go. The peloton then had a series of attacks forming a lead group that contained Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) all within it.

That group didn’t work well together so with 20km to go, Luis León Sánchez went away with Kron, Kämna and Rochas and quickly pulled out a gap. The peloton was disorganised with attack after attack instead of teams coming up to chase, as the gap dragged out to 35 seconds with 19km to go.

With the break hitting the final climb of the Port de Collsacreu they held 41 seconds over the peloton with 17km to go; the climb just over a kilometre long. It was Trek-Segafredo, BikeExchange, and Movistar who came up to work on the front of the peloton.

As they went over the climb the gap had dropped to 28 seconds but the descent and wind favoured the break with 15km to the line. They made it to the flat main road into town with a 43 second gap at the 5km banner.

Ineos Grenadiers took over in the chase with 4km left of racing which brought the gap down to inside 30 seconds.

But it wasn't enough to pull them back as the four riders sprinted it out for victory. Kron came out on top coming from the back of the group pipping the Spanish champion Sánchez to the line.

Stage two in the 100th edition of the Volta a Catalunya is an individual time trial, which could see the general classification change dramatically before stage three and the big mountains.

Results

Volta a Catalunya 2021, stage one: Calella to Calella (178.4km)

1. Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto-Soudal, in 4-20-15

2. Luis León Sánchez (Esp) Astana-Premier tech

3. Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis

4. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, all at same time

5. Dion Smith (NZl) Team BikeExchange, at 16 seconds

6. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain Victorious

7. Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe

8. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team

9. Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo

10. Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo, all at the same time.

General classification after stage one

1. Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto-Soudal, in 4-20-15

2. Luis León Sánchez (Esp) Astana-Premier tech

3. Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis

4. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, all at same time

5. Dion Smith (NZl) Team BikeExchange, at 16 seconds

6. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain Victorious

7. Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe

8. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team

9. Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo

10. Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo, all at the same time.

Tim Bonville-Ginn
Tim Bonville-Ginn

Tim Bonville-Ginn is one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter.


Bonville-Ginn started working in cycling journalism while still at school and university for a voluntary site based on Twitter before also doing slots for Eurosport's online web team and has been on location at the Tour de Yorkshire, Tour of Britain, UCI World Championships and various track events. He then joined the Cycling Weekly team in late February of 2020.


When not writing stories for the site, Bonville-Ginn doesn't really switch off his cycling side as he watches every race that is televised as well as being a rider himself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager.


He rides a Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on his local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being his preferred terrain.