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Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

Louis Meintjes targets good GC alongside Jan Hirt

From Monday to Sunday, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will participate for the seventh time in the Volta Catalunya (2.UWT, 21-27/03). The first Spanish event on the World Tour calendar is made of seven stages with no time trials, including two summit finishes in the heart of the Pyrenees.

The 101st edition kicks off with a hilly stage in the province of Girona, followed the next day by a 200 kilometer crossing towards Perpignan, on the other side of the Pyrenees. Two summit finishes will welcome the riders on the third and fourth days. On Wednesday, the peloton will head towards the ski resort of La Molina (12.1 km at 4.5%), at 1695 meters altitude, then the next day that of Boí Taüll (13km at 6%) whose summit just about exceeds the 2000 meters.

After these two days in the Pyrenees, the riders will head towards the coast for a transition stage, the longest of the event, leading to Vilanova i la Geltrú. They will complete a 167 kilometer circuit around the Costa Daurada on day six, before the traditional closing stage around the Catalan capital, where the Alto de Montjuic (2.4 km at 4.7%) features in each of the six Barcelona local circuit laps.

The selection of the Belgian World Team will notably rely on Tour of Oman winner, Jan Hirt. The Czech resumes competition since the UAE Tour at the end of February, along with the South African Louis Meintjes, 17th in the stage race in the Emirates. Alongside them are Belgians Jan Bakelants, Tom Devriendt and Laurens Huys, Frenchman Théo Delacroix and Italian Simone Petilli. These seven riders will compete under the direction of Pieter Vanspeybrouck and Frederik Veuchelen.

On paper, the Volta Catalunya is a race that suits me, but I'm yet to get a good result here so far. I want to change that this week. The fact that there is no time trial this year is a good thing for me, I also hope that the rainy conditions forecasted this week will materialize as little as possible. I know the climb of La Molina quite well since it featured often in the previous editions, as well as the start of the stage 4 near Andorra, where I live. Undoubtedly, these third and fourth stages will be important for the GC, but the last day in Barcelona is just as decisive. It is often the scene of numerous attacks which have led to an upheaval in the final classification. After the UAE Tour, I was able to continue improving my condition in training, so I hope to claim a good GC alongside Jan Hirt this week.


General Classification


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