Volta a Catalunya: Joaquim Rodriguez seals victory as Lieuwe Westra wins stage 7 solo
Last Updated: 30/03/14 5:46pm
Joaquim Rodriguez completed overall victory at the Volta a Catalunya as Lieuwe Westra rode to a superb solo win on a rain-affected seventh stage in Barcelona.
Rodriguez fended off a late attack from closest rival Alberto Contador to secure a four-second triumph over his fellow Spaniard, with Tejay van Garderen clinching the final place on the podium, three seconds further back.
It is Rodriguez’s first victory in a stage race since the Vuelta a Burgos in 2011 and sets him up perfectly for May’s Giro d’Italia, where he is expected to challenge for the overall win.
Team Sky's Chris Froome crashed early in the day but recovered to finish in the main group of favourites and consolidate sixth place in the general classification, 17 seconds adrift of Rodriguez.
Westra formed part of the day’s breakaway but later rode clear on his own and eventually won by 1min 22sec.
Westra goes it alone
The final stage started in Barcelona and then returned to the Catalan capital for eight laps of a finishing circuit on the category-three climb of Alt de Montjuic. Each lap had to be shortened, however, because heavy rain made the summit of climb too dangerous to descend.
Thirteen riders mounted a breakaway but the group was later reduced to five as Westra (Astana), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Maciej Paterski (CCC Polsat Polkowice), Marcus Burghardt (BMC) and Yoann Bagot (Cofidis) opted to up the pace.
Westra had designs on the stage win, though, and attacked his fellow escpaees as they made their way up the Montjuic around 15km from home, quickly building up a lead that ultimately proved unassailable.
Behind them, the top seven in the general classification started the day separated by just 18 seconds, but it wasn’t until the final lap that the those looking to topple leader Rodriguez (Katusha) made their moves.
Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) mounted a purposeful attack close to the new summit, but a vigilant Rodriguez quickly chased him down and the group of race favourites all crossed the line together.
Stage seven result
1 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana, 2:36:14
2 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC, +1:22
3 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar, same time
4 Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice, +1:26
5 Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, +1:36
6 Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida, +2:07
7 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, st
8 Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
9 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ, st
10 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, st
13 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, st
1 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, 27:03:13
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, +4secs
3 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC, +7
4 Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +10
5 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, same time
6 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +17
7 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +18
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +26
9 Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano, +42
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory racing, +48