Stage 3 of the Volta a Catalunya will be an interesting one. After the GC fight exploded on Vallter 2000, they now face a high-mountain stage with more ascents, but a more gentle finish in La Molina. 12 kilometers at just over 4% is not too hard, and although a descent makes a difference in the average gradient, Remco Evenepoel doesn't expect an aggressive stage.
“The stage suits me, with a lot of climbing before the final climb. It is again with a corner 150 meters from the end, so it will be important to time well if I can fight for the stage victory," he tells Het Laatste Nieuws at the start this morning. Yesterday in the summit finish he effectively led out Giulio Ciccone and Primoz Roglic, who then took time on him via bonus seconds. Adjustments will surely be made today, but it doesn't seem as if a far-out attack was in the plans.
PREVIEW | Volta a Catalunya 2023 stage 3 - Roglic, Evenepoel and Ciccone expected to battle for second consecutive summit finish
And in fact, the World Champion believes in the possibilities of a breakaway succeeding. “If the breakaway rides too far away, we will not race for them," he admits, thinking of the bigger picture. "So it depends a bit on what Jumbo-Visma will do. Whether I expect personal initiative from Primož Roglič and Giulio Ciccone? No." Evenepoel sits second in the overall classification, six seconds behind the Slovenian.
“It is the hardest stage of the week, if you look at the number of altimeters. This is the first day we can test our climbing train. If there is an opportunity, we will take control of the race," he concluded. Soudal - Quick-Step are gearing up to the Giro d'Italia, and today will be an important test for their mountain block, which sees Ilan van Wilder as the strongest performing domestique in the race so far.
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