A tough day on the bike, and one incredibly important for the overall classification. Most of the stage was rather flat, with a group of eight going up the road: Simone Petille (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Simon Carr (EF Education-EasyPost), Vadim Pronskiy (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA), Xabier Mikel Azparren (Euskaltel - Euskadi), Ewen Costiou (Arkéa Samsic), Chris Juul-Jensen (Team Jayco AlUla) and Francisco Galván (Equipo Kern Pharma).
Profiles & Route Volta a Catalunya 2023
The gap kept by the front group was still of several minutes entering the final kilometers of the stage, but as soon as the riders started to slowly climb to Vallter 2000 it became evident how much they had put into it. One by one they quickly cracked, with Simon Carr eventually being the final survivor, he was eventually caught with 7 kilometers to go.
João Almeida suffered a mechanical at the base of the climb, after Bahrain - Victorious picked up the pace. There was ambition from Bahrain to take up the race as the group was quickly reduced to the big favourites on the day and only a few more. With 6.2 kilometers to go Esteban Chaves launched an attack in traditional form, Sepp Kuss was the only rider trying to follow, but unsuccessfully.
Chaves carried a 30-second gap into the tough final 2.5 kilometers. The work of Bahrain culminated with just over 3 to go, with Ilan van Wilder putting his nose to the wind for Remco Evenepoel. The true GC battle began with 2 kilometers to go as Mikel Landa launched an attack, counter-attacked by Evenepoel himself who then took up the pace. Evenepoel essentially gave a free rider as he kept pacing the group into the final meters, reeling in Chaves with 500 meters to go.
The World Champion did himself over, leading out the survivors of his pace until the final straight. Giulio Ciccone launched his sprint powerfully and took a very strong win, outsprinting Primoz Roglic - who defended his race lead - and Evenepoel.
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