Catalunya: Valverde takes lead with stage 2 win

Reigning champion Alejandro Valverde takes overall lead at Volta a Catalunya after winning Tuesday's stage 2 in a sprint finish.

BARCELONA (AFP) — Reigning champion Alejandro Valverde took the overall lead at the Volta a Catalunya after winning Tuesday’s second stage in a sprint finish.

It was the 37-year-old Spaniard’s sixth victory of the season at a time of the year when he usually shines in week-long stage races and one-day spring classics.

“I feel phenomenal, it was a very nervous day with the wind but we were very careful through the whole team and throughout the day,” said Valverde.

“I want to dedicate this victory to my boy Ivan who the other day broke his shoulder playing football.”

South African Daryl Impey was second with Jay McCarthy of Australia third at the end of the 175km stage from Mataro to Valls.

The day’s leader, Alvaro Hodeg (Quick-Step) was dropped on a category 2 climb up Lilla, thanks to a fast tempo set by Movistar and Mitchelton-Scott.

“It wasn’t on the team’s plans to aim for the stage win, not at all,” Valverde added. “It was just that Scott got through the final climb at a really strong pace, and with the bunch strung out and many sprinters dropping, it was easier for us to seek for a good position into the main field — that was where we chose to go for the win.”

Valverde will wear the green and white leader’s jersey on Wednesday’s 199km third stage that finishes with a climb to Vallter 2000.

The Volta a Catalunya finishes on Sunday.

Top 10, stage 2

1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), in 4:41:50
2. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), at s.t.
3. Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe), at s.t.
4. Egan Bernal (Team Sky), at s.t.
5. Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida), at s.t.
6. Enrico Gasparotto (Bahrain-Merida), at s.t.
7. José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), at s.t.
8. Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Sky), at s.t.
9. Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), at s.t.
10. Alex Howes (EF Education First-Drapac), at s.t.

Top-10 overall

1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), in 8:21:09
2. Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe), at :04
3. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), at :06
4. Nairo Quintana (Movistar), at :11
5. Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida), at :12
6. Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors), at s.t.
7. Eduard Prades (Euskadi-Murias), at s.t.
8. Enrico Gasparotto (Bahrain-Merida), at s.t.
9. Jordi Simón (Burgos-BH), at s.t.
10. Egan Bernal (Team Sky), at s.t.