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Catalunya: Quick-Step’s Hodeg wins stage 1 handily

Claiming his second race in less than a week’s time, Alvaro Hodeg sprinted to a convincing win Monday in Volta a Catalunya stage 1.

“It’s a dream come true, today was great for me,” Hodeg said. “They [the team] gave me the opportunity and well, this victory is for them.”

The Quick-Step rider took the overall race lead after coming home ahead of Sam Bennett, whose Bora-Hansgrohe teammate Jay McCarthy rounded out the day’s podium in third after the 152.3km stage.

Hodeg, 21, of Colombia is coming off a win Friday in the Handzame Classic, his first as a professional.

“The entire team stayed with me and protected me today. On the descent, I was somewhere in the middle of the bunch, but Michael gave me a lot of confidence by telling me to stay calm and pacing me back to the front,” Hodeg said, referring to the Cat. 3 climb that came about 20 miles from the line.

“Bob [Jungels] showed an insane power in the last kilometers,” Hodeg added. “Many teams wanted to be there, but thanks to these fantastic guys we were all the time in control, they made the difference today and I thank them for that.”

The seven-day race through Spain’s Catalunya region continues Tuesday with a 175.6km race starting in Mataró. Although there’s a Cat. 3 ascent of Col de Lilla in the final 15km, the stage will finish with a downhill run to Valls.

Top 10, stage 1

1. Álvaro José Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors), in 3:39:31.
2. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), at :00
3. Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe), at :00
4. Michael Morkov (Quick-Step Floors), at :00
5. Fabricio Ferrari (UAE Team Emirates), at :00
6. Niccolò Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida), at :00
7. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), at :00
8. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), at :00
9. Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida), at :00
10. Zakkari Dempster (Israel Cycling Academy), at :00

Top-10 overall

1. Álvaro José Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors), in 3:39:21
2. George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo), at :04
3. Andriy Grivko (Astana), at :05
4. Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe), at :06
5. Michael Morkov (Quick-Step Floors), at :10
6. Fabricio Ferrari (UAE Team Emirates), at :10
7. Niccolò Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida), at :10
8. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), at :10
9. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), at :10
10. Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida), at :10

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