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No Ineos podium sweep repeat as Richie Porte, Michal Kwiatkowski leave Volta a Catalunya

Illness takes out two key riders in Spain while Ineos Grenadiers finishes second and third in opening stage at Coppi e Bartali.

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Ineos Grenadiers won’t be repeating its 2021 podium sweep at Volta a Catalunya after two key riders left the race.

Richie Porte and Michal Kwiatkowski are both out of the Spanish WorldTour race, leaving the team’s GC hopes hanging with Richard Carapaz.

Porte, a winner in 2015 and second last year, pulled out of Tuesday’s second stage with a fever. Kwiatkowski did not start Wednesday also citing illness.

“Sad to inform that I will not be at the start of stage 3 due to chest and throat infection,” Kwiatkowski wrote on social media. “Fingers cross for Richard Carapaz and the rest of the team here.”

Last year, Adam Yates won Catalunya and Porte and Geraint Thomas rounded out the podium in an impressive display that set the tone for the spring for the British team.

With Yates not starting and Thomas racing at Coppi e Bartali, the team’s GC hopes in Spain will rest with Carapaz.

The Ecuadorian also has been struggling with health issues, however, and he left Tirreno-Adriatico early. Going into Wednesday’s third stage, Carapaz was 20th overall, with the hardest climbing stages looming later this week.

The early exits also seem to indicate that the wave of health issues that zapped both Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico might not be abated yet. Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) also did not start Tuesday.

Dunbar, Hayter go 2-3 in Coppi e Bartali

Over in Italy, the team lit up the opening stage at Coppi e Bartali in Italy, with Eddie Dunbar and Ethan Hayter hitting second and third, respectively.

Mauro Schmid (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) won the stage to fend off Dunbar by two seconds, with Hayter winning the bunch sprint ahead of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) at 16 seconds adrift.

Also read: Thomas says ‘Tour de France is always main goal of season’

Thomas, racing for the first time since the Volta ao Algarve, finished safely in the front GC selection.

“I can be satisfied with second,” Hayter said at the line in Italy. “I had my chance Tuesday, and we’ll see in the next few days what can happen. If you have the chance to take the jersey, you always take. The way cycling is now, any time you have a chance to take time, you take it. You can’t wait.”

Both races continue Wednesday.