The cycling season is starting to take shape and with six weeks until the first grand tour of the season, the Giro d’Italia, the upcoming Volta a Catalunya features a number of the favourites.

The third oldest race on the cycling calendar behind the Giro and Tour de France, the Volta features plenty of climbing, the odd opportunity for the sprinters and the annual closing Montjuïc city circuit in Barcelona.

Running from Monday to Sunday, the 102nd edition features two flat stages, a pair of medium mountain days and a couple of runs in the high mountains of the Pyrenees designed to test the overall contenders.

Recent Tirreno-Adriatico winner Primoz Roglic will be present, as will last year’s Vuelta a Espana champion Remco Evenepoel.

The 2019 Tour champion, Egan Bernal, also continues his comeback after last year’s horror crash while training at home in Colombia, while 2021 Volta hero Adam Yates returns, as does last year’s winner Sergio Higuita.

Volta a Catalunya Betting Tips

  • Primoz Roglic Outright
  • Adam Yates Outright each-way

The route

Climbing is the priority in this race, with three summit finishes and difficult hills aplenty elsewhere. In fact, stage one is the only real chance for the sprinters.

Interestingly, two of the big days come on stages two and three. The front-loading of the route may lead to some cat and mouse between the General Classification contenders for the remainder of the week, with those who have lost seconds looking to break away and put pressure on the leaders.

The stage two climb of Vallter and La Molina could prove decisive but the undulations elsewhere mean there could still be shake-ups later in the week.

Primoz Roglic Outright

After a tough 2022, in which Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard superseded him as Jumbo-Visma’s leader, Roglic has looked more like his old self in his limited exposure in 2023.

The Slovenian’s sole outing has been at Tirreno-Adriatico, where he took the overall, the points and mountains classifications thanks to winning stages four, five and six.

While there might not be a time-trial for him to take minutes out of his rivals, Evenepoel’s excellence against the clock may mean that is not such a bad thing and the way Roglic rode in Italy hints he has rediscovered his best climbing legs.

The 33-year-old’s three Vuelta a Espana wins show that he likes racing in Spain and having won nine of the last 11 non-Grand Tour stage races that he has started, it will take a mighty ride to overhaul him.

Adam Yates Outright each-way

While Roglic and Evenepoel are most likely to duke it out, there could be scope in backing 2021 champion Yates to make the podium.

Geraint Thomas will also play a part but lacks the explosiveness of Yates, who showed in winning on the climb to Vallter in 2019 and 2021 that he can both grind it out and burst from the pack when he needs to.

He has placed first, second and fourth overall and leads a strong UAE Team Emirates line-up, also featuring Tirreno-Adriatico second Joao Almeida and Jay Vine.

After finishing third at the UAE Tour, his 11th in Italy was unexpected and he will be keen to bounce back at a race he knows well.

 

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