BARCELONA: Bahrain Victorious’ Matej Mohorič clinched second place in the final stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.
It was a challenging week for Bahrain Victorious at the 100th edition of the race that covered 1,000km over seven days. The team started the race with six out of the possible seven riders, and after Stage 3, they were down to five due to Domen Novak suffering from gastrointestinal issues.
Nonetheless, the team put the issues behind them, putting on a solid showing in Catalunya.
Columbian Santiago Buitrago went head to head with some of the big favourites and climbers of the WorldTour.
The snowcapped Pyrenees climbs and Catalan roads were an excellent test and comeback for Wout Poels after an injury in the UAE. While Hermann Pernsteiner and Stevie Williams showed good form throughout the race.
The race highlight came on the final stage with Mohorič riding in the breakaway, ending as runner-up to Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal).
“I came in good shape in this Volta a Catalunya with the goal to win a stage. I came close on 3 occasions, but it always slipped through my hands. It’s a little bit frustrating, but yeah, today was the most suited me, but De Gendt was just stronger. I could not do anything to hold his power. It’s still a good week of training before the Ardenne Classics. Amstel and Liege will be the two big goals; I hope to improve last year’s 4th place in Liege. I will recover now, and then I look forward to the next races,” Mohorič said.
Meanwhile, in Belgium, Bahrain Victorious’ Sonny Colbrelli finished fourth in a sprint finish at Gent Wevelgem.
The 247km race battled strong winds from the off, and it wasn’t long until the peloton was split. A front group of 25 riders took an advantage over the bunch and caught the early breakaway with 150km to go.
The front group were down to nine riders with 50km and later dropped to seven with 15km to go. It came down to a sprint for the line, with Sonny crossing fourth with the race favourite Wout Van Aert (Jumbo Visma) taking the win.
Sports director Franco Pellizotti was happy with the improvement throughout the race: “It was much better than we started. All the guys improved day by day. We had Santiago for GC and four days in the breakaway, and finally, we took second place with Matej in the last stage. For the team, I think we finished very well, and we see a positive future.”