Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2024 – Stage 2 Preview

What a smart move by ISPT. Once more, UAE Team are losing wins as the team simply doesn’t seem strong enough to support their leader.

Route

Vallter 2000. Not the longest of climbs but it will provide a general idea of who can challenge for the podium.

The riders head towards the Pyrenees.

Here you have the climb. Adam Yates won here in 2019 and 2021. The latest winner is Ciccone in 2023. It is not the most regular climbs. It takes roughly 30 minutes, a bit more tomorrow due to rain is my shot. Plus the fact we get 2000 meters above sea level.

It is the first half that is the steepest too.

Weather

It will rain towards the end, hopefully the stage will not have to be cancelled or changed. It will make it a quite cold affair too near the top.

Contenders

Pogacar – starts as the favorite. He prefers the cold weather too. Tomorrow is easier for him as he can make the difference on his own on the climb. Soler and Almeida did look strong for a long time but they left him alone early today.

Kuss – I don’t think he enjoys the rain to be fair. When we look back at the Giro d’Italia 2023, he didn’t excel as well in the first half as in the second, I think somewhat due to the rain. Maybe also because of the fact he had covid for some of the race.

Uijtdebroecks – a Belgian surely enjoys rain. I think he will be good enough to challenge for a top-10.

Landa – I’m not sure if he was involved in the crash or not. It looks like everyone who went down looked fine. He was 4th here in 2023, I’d expect more or less the same from him tomorrow. He does well in cold conditions.

Bernal – same goes for Bernal. He went down, he must be the most unlucky rider in the peloton. He was up again quickly, that is usually a good sign. He struggled a bit on the long climb in Paris-Nice. A top-10 tomorrow.

Lenny Martinez – time to see him up against world class riders on a long mountain. I wonder how a small climber from Cannes does in cold and rainy conditions? I guess we will find out tomorrow. He was 14th here in 2023, I’d imagine he will improve that tomorrow.

Vlasov – a good climb for him as it stays near 30 minutes. I think given his riding at Paris-Nice, it is fair to say the Russian doesn’t mind rain at all. He seems to thrive in it. I don’t think the podium is unrealistic for him tomorrow.

S. Yates – he has done this climb twice in a professional race. Never finished inside the top-10. Both seasons, he targeted Giro d’Italia, which means he was building up. I think it will be different this year, he often does better in one-week races when building up for the Tour de France. However, I do recall he doesn’t love the cold. Keep that in mind.

Woods – the Canadian does. I’m uncertain of his climbing form as he hasn’t really been impressing anyone early on. He usually gets a top-10 here, he did so in 2023 and 2021.

Chaves – 2nd here in 2021 and 7th here in 2023. It seems to be a climb he enjoys. A top-10 tomorrow.

Who will win?

Tadej Pogacar.

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