Ineos Grenadiers remained upbeat on the 2022 Volta a Catalunya regardless of their premature lack of Richie Porte on stage 2, with the unwell Australian veteran having to give up some 50 kilometres from the road.
A former Volta Catalunya winner and up to date prime 5 finisher in Tirreno-Adriatico, Porte was one in every of a number of playing cards the British squad deliberate to play within the GC battle on the seven day race. However as sports activities director Brett Lancaster advised Cyclingnews, after getting via Monday’s opening stage with the primary pack, issues went awry for Porte on Tuesday.
“He was okay yesterday [Monday] however received sick in the course of the race in the present day,” Lancaster mentioned. “So he determined to cease and we’ll be sure that he recovers nicely.”
On the plus facet for the crew that took all three prime spots in Catalunya final 12 months – with Porte slotting into second between Adam Yates and Geraint Thomas – each Richard Carapaz and Pavel Sivakov made it into the entrance group of some 40 riders that sheered away within the closing kilometres of stage 2. Meaning each remained poised to struggle within the GC battle.
Carapaz is himself getting back from a foul bout of illness that knocked him out of Tirreno-Adriatico however to this point at Catalunya, even when the mountain phases are but to come back, the Olympic champion has been hanging all the precise notes.
“We’re not anticipating huge issues as a result of he’s nonetheless constructing for the Giro, “ Lancaster mentioned. “However he’s in a superb place, in order that’s promising.”
A poorly timed flat, nevertheless, meant 21-year-old Spanish rider, Carlos Rodriguez, completed in the identical group as Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco), 33 seconds again.
“He punctured simply earlier than the crosswinds part and misplaced time,” mentioned Lancaster. “However that’s biking, it’s a kind of punches it’s a must to take. He’ll maintain preventing, it hasn’t phased him, he’s a really stage headed child.”
“And Pavel is shifting nicely as nicely. It’s not like Richie’s out – recreation over for us. We’ve nonetheless received some choices, quite a lot of high quality riders who can step up.”
One other potential challenger for the general would undoubtably have been defending champion Adam Yates, however as Lancaster advised Cyclingnews earlier than stage 1, a call tweak his race plans barely after a a travel-heavy begin to the season meant Catalunya needed to be sidelined.
“He’d carried out altitude in Sierra Nevada after which went onto UAE and Paris-Good and did some recon in Denain up there for the Tour,” Lancaster mentioned. “So it was quite a lot of travelling. It is best he has a mini break and builds again up once more.”
Wanting globally at Catalunya’s route for the 2022, Lancaster, who was directing Ineos Grenadiers final 12 months once they took their historic 1-2-3 end on GC, mentioned the shortage of a time trial has positively modified the race narrative.
“A number of groups have seen that and know they’ll have an opportunity to take this race on,” he identified. “It’s an exceptionally good line up this 12 months.”
As for whether or not shedding 33 seconds means the GC menace posed by Simon Yates has been neutralised – particularly given the Volta a Catalunya is commonly gained by far much less time – Lancaster argues it’s a setback for the BikeExchange rider however removed from a definitive blow.
“Clearly I can’t say for positive what he’ll do but it surely in all probability simply signifies that Simon will assault a bit earlier on the climbs.”