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Michael Woods returns to Volta a Catalunya for 2024 WorldTour debut

Michael Woods returns to Volta a Catalunya for 2024 WorldTour debut

Michael Woods returned to the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya on Monday, continuing his build-up to the Ardennes Classics and the Giro d’Italia. Woods was sixth place last season, but the 2024 edition is even tougher and will prove a real test.

It’s Woods’ 2024 WorldTour debut. Woods was fourth in his season opener Classic Var, 10th in the two-day Tour des Alpes-Maritimes and 21st in Faun-Ardèche Classic.

Last year’s top 2—titlist Primož Roglič and runner-up Remco Evenepoel—are absent from the 103rd edition.

The favourite is Tadej Pogačar, who is on his own Giro quest. The Strade Bianche winner and Milan-San Remo podium man will have support from last year’s third place João Almeida and work with new teammate Pavel Sivakov for the first time. Jay Vine and 2023’s fifth place Marc Soler add plenty of muscle to UAE-Emirates.

Pogacar has looked strong early in the season.

The Slovenian’s competition will come from Vuelta a España champ Sepp Kuss and the American’s new teammate Cian Uijtdebroeks, last year’s fifth-placed rider Mikel Landa, Simon Yates, Alexander Vlasov (who hasn’t been lower than fifth this year), and Ineos duo Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas.

Vlasov has had a hot start to the season.

It’s Nairo Quintana’s first WorldTour race since the 2022 Tour de France, but his teammate Enric Mas should be Movistar’s main GC man, and he’ll be looking to improve on his 12th in Tirreno-Adriatico.

The seven-stage race’s brutality arrives early, with back-to-back HC-rated summit finishes on Tuesday and Wednesday. There’s another summit finish on the penultimate stage. The traditional final day in Barcelona tosses in more climbs to mix up the GC.

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