The Volta a Catalunya’s 41-kilometre team time trial was always likely to leave some big names playing catch-up and so it proved on a day when Movistar put both José Joaquin Rojas and then Alejandro Valverde into the leader’s jersey, with BMC Racing the only team within touching distance of the Spanish outfit.
Sky finished 46 seconds down in third and with team leader Chris Froome saying they will be looking to “light things up” as the race moves into the mountains for the stage three summit finish at La Molina.
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“We’re not the only ones who’ve lost a little bit of time. Trek and [Alberto] Contador have lost some as well, so it might be in the interest of all of us to ride a very aggressive race over the next few days,” Froome said after completing his post-TTT warm-down.
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Although there are two summit finishes to come, Froome, who is racing his first European even of the season, wondered whether the race might already have been decided.
“I’d expect today’s stage to be more decisive than any other stage, but let’s see. We’re certainly here to race. We’re not here just to race for the podium, so hopefully we’ll light things up at some point,” he added.
With the weather forecast to change for the worse in the coming days, Froome said this could also prove an important factor.
“Things are changing quite a bit there and it looks like we could be getting snow in the next few days. I guess anything could happen at that point,” he said with a rueful smile.
Next up is La Molina, a climb Froome knows well but not from the side being tackled by the Volta this year.
“I think it’s fairly similar to what we’ve done before although perhaps a little bit longer,” he said. “La Molina kicks up towards the top so it’s normally a climb for more punchy riders, someone like Dan Martin or Valverde maybe.”