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Tadej Pogačar sweeps the 2024 Volta a Catalunya summit finishes

Tadej Pogačar sweeps the 2024 Volta a Catalunya summit finishes

Tadej Pogačar’s domination of the 2024 Volta Ciclista a Cataluyna reached its height on Saturday, as the Slovenian swept all three of the 103rd edition’s summit finishes with another long solo attack. His hat trick of wins gave him a commanding lead with one stage remaining. Egan Bernal’s progress back from tremendous injury just over two years ago continued as the Colombian took second place and vaulted onto the GC podium.

The Course

Five climbs were spread evenly along 155 km, with things really picking up midway through the race. A HC-rated ascent was the longest of the day, before the steepest, Cat. 1 Collada de Sant Isidre. The final summit finish of the 103rd edition was Cat. 1 Queralt, 6 km at 7.3 percent.

For a penultimate day in a stage race, a two-man breakaway is pretty stingy. But there they were, well-known riders Bauke Mollema and Hugh Carthy, both far down the GC, the only chaps up for it on Saturday. Carthy was first over Cat. 3 Coll de la Batallola and Cat. 2 Collet de Cal Ros.

Visma-Lease a Bike held the reins of the peloton, and the team tugged the intrepid duo closer on the long descent to the foot of HC Coll de Pradell. Soon after it kicked up, the two were absorbed.

A Visma soigneur collided with a Uno-X rider after handing up a bottle.

Visma soigneur and Uno-X rider collide on the HC climb.

Not long after that Visma’s Robert Gesink gave Equipo Kern Pharma’s Jorge Gutiérrez a dig in the ribs while the two were at the back of the field.

Robert Gesink gives Jorge Gutiérrez a bop in the ribs.

Esteban Chaves of EF Education-EasyPost made the first foray but didn’t get far. Simon Yates is one of several GC men not having a good time in Catalunya, and he was distanced, as was Guillaume Martin. Incredibly, Vuelta a España champion Sepp Kuss, for whom Visma had been driving the peloton, cracked. UAE-Emirates grabbed the controls and 12 riders crested together.

Just before the start of Collada de Sant Isidre, Kuss, Cian Uijtdebroeks, Geraint Thomas and others latched back on. Movistar dictated the pace in the opening kilometres, shelling several riders. Pogačar bolted with 3 km to go, Mikel Landa able to hang with him momentarily.

Can’t stop, won’t stop. Pogačar…

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