Giulio Ciccone pips Primož Roglič and Remco Evenepoel in summit finish on Volta a Catalunya stage two

Italian topples stage favourites on race's Queen stage

Giulio Ciccone wins atop Vallter 2000 at Volta a Catalunya
(Image credit: Getty)

For all the preamble surrounding Primož Roglič and Remco Evenepoel, it was Trek-Segafredo’s Giulio Ciccone who had the strongest kick on day two of the Volta a Catalunya. 

The Italian, a three-time Giro d’Italia stage winner, chased Evenepoel’s attacks on the upper slopes of the day's final climb, Vallter 2000, reserving enough energy to win a three-up dash at the summit. 

“For me, it was an amazing day,” Ciccone said after the stage, before dedicating the victory to his compatriot and team-mate, Dario Cataldo, who broke his femur in a crash on stage one

“In my mind, I just thought to follow only Evenepoel and Roglič, so I just followed, followed, followed in the wheel and then I did my best in the last 500m,” he continued. “I think this is one of the best victories of my career.

“In the last two weeks I’ve lost many times. Especially to Roglič, he’s won everything. But, you know, after a long climb we arrive here at more than 2,000m altitude, so everything changes. My feeling was good, I did my best.” 

It looked for a while that Esteban Chaves (EF Education-EasyPost) might claim the stage, having ridden clear with 6.5km to go, but attacks from Evenepoel quickly clawed back the Colombian champion’s gap. 

Roglič crossed the line in second, ahead of Evenepoel, to keep the race lead by six seconds ahead of Wednesday’s third stage. 

How it happened

Stage two of the seven-day Volta a Catalunya brought the race’s Queen stage, a 165.5km route from the town of Mataró, north of Barcelona, to Vallter 2000. Named as such for its altitude, the day’s summit finish would mark the highest point of a WorldTour stage race this year, reaching 2,135m. 

Attacks for the day’s breakaway came from the flag drop, with an eight-rider move soon forming. Among them was 24-year-old British rider Simon Carr, decked in the patchwork pink of EF Education-EasyPost. 

Heading north to the Catalan Pyrenees, the escapees swallowed up the KOM points over the category-one Coll de Coubet. They then descended into the valley and onto the 18km climb to Vallter 2000, two minutes ahead of the chasing peloton. 

Carr, sensing the time gap tumbling, set off solo for the summit with 12km to go. His foray would last 5km, before he was caught by a Bahrain Victorious-led pack. 

As his EF Education-EasyPost team-mate rejoined the peloton, Chaves darted ahead of the thinning front group. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) tried to follow, but with the ramps growing steeper, the American couldn’t match the Colombian champion’s pace. 

Chaves’s advantage quickly stretched out. With 4.3km to go, just 2km after he attacked, the gap stood at 30 seconds. 

Moves from Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) and Evenepoel then cut into the road between the bunch and Chaves, who kept just a handful of seconds under the flamme rouge. The catch came with 500m to go, when the grimacing Colombian was overtaken as the finish line came into sight. 

Trying to distance his rivals, Evenepoel kicked out of the saddle, but Ciccone and Roglič remained on his wheel. The trio rounded the final bend together, where the world champion took a wider line, and was passed on his inside by the other two. 

Ciccone won the bike throw, earning himself ten bonus seconds, third place in the standings and, most importantly, a celebratory trip to the podium. 


Volta a Catalunya 2023, stage two: Mataró to Vallter 2000 (165.5km) 

1. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, in 4-13-37
2. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
3. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step, all at same time
4. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
5. Adam Yates (GBr) UAE Team Emirates
6. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, all at 11s
7. Esteban Chaves (Col) EF Education-EasyPost
8. Michael Woods (Can) Israel-Premier Tech
9. Jai Hindley (Aus) Bora Hansgrohe
10. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Bora Hansgrohe, all at 15s

General classification after stage two

1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 8-01-38
2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step
3. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, both at 6s
4. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
5. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, both at 27s
6. Michael Woods (Can) Israel-Premier Tech
7. Jai Hindley (Aus) Bora Hansgrohe
8. Esteban Chaves (Col) EF Education-EasyPost, all at 31s
9. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Bora Hansgrohe, at 41s
10. Marc Soler (Spa) UAE Team Emirates, at 46s

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Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.