Poland’s Maciej Paterski won the first stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya on Monday as a three-man breakaway left the peloton nearly three minutes behind.
Paterski edged out France’s Pierre Rolland and Belgian Bart de Clerq to claim the 185.2km stage around Calella, Spain, in a time of 4 hours, 33 minutes, 31 seconds.
Former Tour de France winners Chris Froome and Alberto Contador were among the chasing peloton which finished 2 minutes, 40 seconds behind the leaders, although Froome squeezed out a bonus one-second advantage over Contador in an intermediate sprint.
Paterski’s feat is all the more impressive as the CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider finished 22nd in the marathon 293km Milano-Sanremo classic just 24 hours previously.
“I’ve come four times previously to the Tour of Catalonia and been in a breakaway twice that got to the end, so I thought that today the same thing could happen,” Paterski said. “I didn’t believe I would be able to win, though, as I was a bit tired from yesterday. I rode the Milan-San Remo and didn’t get to the hotel until after 10pm.”
The trio did not manage to form a breakaway until 60km into the stage, but with no one in the peloton willing to take on the brunt of the workload, they quickly built up an unassailable advantage of more than 13 minutes.
Froome’s Team Sky then began to push the pace in the chasing peloton and managed to at least minimize the damage, which could give Rolland, in particular, who finished fourth in last year’s Giro d’Italia, a shot at winning the general classification come Sunday’s final stage in Barcelona.
Up front it was De Clerq who made the first break for the line, but he was quickly caught and Paterski had just too much for Rolland in the final sprint.
The race was due to continue yesterday with a 191.8km second stage from Mataro to Olot, Spain.
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