The 2023 Volta a Catalunya gets ready for a five-star 102nd edition
March 18 th 2023 - 14:46 [GMT + 1]
The Volta Ciclista a Catalunya has all the ingredients on the table for a spectacular 102nd edition between 20 and 26 March. A five-star line-up with names such as Remco Evenepoel, Primož Roglič, Richard Carapaz, Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas will be in the spotlight before the start of the Catalan UCI World Tour race, which in its seven stages between Sant Feliu de Guíxols and Barcelona will feature three big mountain stages.
Reigning world champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) heads a stellar field that will make the Volta a Catalunya the world epicentre of cycling between 20 and 26 March. The Belgian star, only 23 years old, will have in Catalunya his big stage race challenge before the Giro d'Italia against his great rival, the triple winner of the Vuelta a España Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), in the eyes of the whole world after his dominance in the recent Tirreno-Adriatico. The Slovenian returns to the Volta after participating in the 2016 edition.
The participation of Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) means the presence of two Tour de France winners, who also already know what it's like to climb the podium of the Volta a Catalunya (third in the 2019 edition in the case of the Colombian and 2021 in the case of the Welshman). A long-awaited return in the case of Bernal after his long recovery. Meanwhile, after being a great protagonist in the last edition, Olympic champion Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost) will once again be one of the great attractions of the race, accompanied by a powerful team with names like Rigoberto Urán and Esteban Chaves.
Continuing with the luxury line-up of the Volta a Catalunya 2023, the last winner of the Giro d'Italia, Australian Jai Hindley (Bora-hansgrohe), will wear bib number 1, in the absence of the defending champion, his team-mate Sergio Higuita. Last year's third-placed rider, Portugal's Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), will also be there, along with Volta 2021 winner Adam Yates and Catalan star Marc Soler, along with many of the great climbers on the international scene, such as Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), who had not participated in the Catalan race since the 2017 edition, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Romain Bardet (Team DSM) or Ben O'Connor (Ag2r Citroën), last year's stage winner in La Molina.
Marc Soler's eighth participation (3rd in the 2017 edition) heads an exceptional Catalan participation with ten riders taking part in the home race, along with David De La Cruz (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Joel Nicolau (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Abel Balderstone (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Eduard Prades (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Antonio Pedrero (Movistar Team), Roger Adrià (Kern Pharma Team), Kiko Galván (Kern Pharma Team) Pau Miquel (Kern Pharma Team) and Marc Brustenga (Trek-Segafredo).
An exceptional hard route
The 102nd Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, which will start on Monday 20 March in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, will have a varied and attractive route with three mountain stages: the high altitude finishes at Vallter, La Molina and the summit of Lo Port, in Terres de l'Ebre, in stages 2, 3 and 5 of the competition, something that has not happened seen since the 2001 edition. In total, there will be 25 mountain passes in the seven stages of the race, which maintains its explosive finish at the Montjuic circuit in Barcelona.
Sant Feliu de Guíxols will be the starting point of the Volta for the second year. The Costa Brava town will be the start and finish of a 164.6-kilometre first stage that could bring surprises, with up to four mountain passes (the addition of the Alto de Àngels, of 2nd category) and an explosive finish that in the last two visits of the race (2019 and 2022) has had the Australian Michael Matthews as the winner.
The real mountains will arrive in the Volta 2023, with a first high altitude finish in the second stage, which will link Mataró and Vallter on a 165.4 kilometre route. The Coll de Coubet, of 1st category, will be demanding before the high altitude finish in the ski resort, a special category pass that has hosted a finish of the Catalan race on six occasions.
The second mountain stage will be on the third day, 180.6 kilometres between Olost, an unprecedented start in the centenary history of the race, and La Molina, a modern classic of the last decade where four final winners of the Volta have won. The previous climbs at the Coll de Coubet (1st category) and the Coll de la Creueta (one of the three special category passes on this year's route) will help to make the selection.
The fourth stage will cover 188.2 kilometres between Llívia and Sabadell in the longest day of this edition, one of the most favourable for a sprint finish, although the start climb at La Molina (1st category) and the climbs of the Collet de Sant Agustí and the Coll de Lligabosses (3rd category) will add even more wear and tear on the legs of the Volta peloton.
If anything makes the route of this 102nd edition of the Volta a Catalunya exceptional, it will be the fifth stage, a day of 176.6 kilometres that will show the cycling potential of the four regions of Terres de l'Ebre, with a start from Tortosa and a monumental finish at Lo Port, only seen in the 1985, 1991 and 2017 editions. It will be the third high altitude finish of the edition, in a special category pass with the necessary hardness to be decisive in the final resolution of the race.
The sixth stage will link Martorell and Molins de Rei, two towns in the Baix Llobregat that return to the Volta route after decades of absence in a day of 183.2 kilometres that will take the cyclists over mountainous terrain through the centre of Catalonia, reaching the territory of Lleida. In the final part, the climbs of Alt de la Creu d'Aragall (2nd category) and Alt de Fontpineda (3rd category) may bring surprises.
Finally, Barcelona will once again be the judge of the Volta a Catalunya in its seventh stage, starting and finishing in the capital of Catalunya on a 135.8-kilometre route that this year incorporates the Alt de Begues (2nd category) before returning to the final circuit in Montjuic, which always offers a special competitive and public spectacle to close a week of emotions.
All the ingredients are ready for a great spectacle in the 102nd edition of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, which will once again bring the best cyclists in the world to the Catalan roads. The UCI WorldTour event, which will distribute its images internationally in 190 countries, can be followed live in Spain on Esport3, Teledeporte and Eurosport.