Evenepoel matches with Roglic in La Molina
March 22 nd 2023 - 18:24 [GMT + 1]
World champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) was the winner of the third stage of the Volta a Catalunya 2023 on Wednesday 22 March, the second consecutive mountain stage with 180.6 kilometres between Olost and the ski resort of La Molina. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo Visma), second in the stage, remains in the lead tied on time with the Belgian, keeping vibrant a duel which still has four stages ahead, including the mountain finish of Lo Port and the always exciting final day of Barcelona.
The town of Olost, an unprecedented host in the centenary history of the Volta a Catalunya, was the start of a third stage that was expected to be one of the most decisive of the edition, with the mountain passes in the final part of the Coll de Coubet (1st category), the Coll de la Creueta (special category) and La Molina (1st category), a finish where four former winners of the Volta have managed to raise their arms in the last decade.
The start of the stage was marked by a breakaway of climbing specialists with last year's runner-up, Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost), who already lost time in Vallter the day before, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Maxim Van Gils (Lotto-Dstny) and Jefferson Cepeda (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), who were later joined by Simone Petilli (Intermarché-Wanty-Circus), who took the lead in the mountains classification, Italian champion Filippo Zanna (Team Jayco-Alula) and Niklas Eg (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team).
As expected, the Coll de la Creueta (special category) has made an important selection both in the breakaway, which has remained only with Carapaz, Martin and Van Gils as the most prominent riders, and in the leader's group, in which the Soudal-Quick Step team of the world champion Remco Evenepoel has set an important pace that has left the group of favourites in just twenty units. Finally, Maxim Van Gils (Lotto-Dstny) was the last escapee to hold on at the foot of the final climb at La Molina.
On the final climb, world champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) launched an attack 4.5 kilometres from the finish that only race leader Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) was able to follow. The great duel foreshadowed for this 102nd Volta Ciclista a Catalunya has lived a new chapter, this time with victory for the Belgian, who thanks to the last rush that has left Roglic behind and the bonus seconds is placed at the same time as the Slovenian, with Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) in third position at 19 seconds.
After Roglic's victory in Sant Feliu de Guíxols and Evenepoel's victory in La Molina, there are four more stages left to continue the exciting battle. It has been 22 years since the reigning world champion won a stage at the Volta a Catalunya, after Latvian Romanos Vainsteins took a stage sprint in the 2001 edition.
After this exciting start of the Volta a Catalunya 2023, the race will continue on Thursday 23 March with the longest stage of this edition, a 188.2-kilometre stage starting in Llívia and finishing in Sabadell, where a possible sprint finish is expected in the Eix Macià after overcoming three mountain passes on the route.