DION SMITH SPRINTS TO WHITE JERSEY IN CATALUNYA
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya’s first stage (2.UWT) was quite hard with six climbs (two of 1st category) but the sprinter teams controlled all day long. It was a bunch sprint after the 178,9 km long stage around Calella. Italian Davide Cimolai was the fastest while New-Zealandian Dion Smith from Wanty-Groupe Gobert sprinted to 4th spot, taking the young rider’s jersey. Tomorrow, we will have a team time trial (41,3 km) around Banyoles.
Dion Smith :
“I felt I had good legs on the climbs. My teammates did a good job to position me in front of the peloton. In the last kilometer I was in Greipel’s wheel. I lost his wheel with 800m to go. Finally, I came very close to the third’s wheel. I am very happy because we aimed for top-10 but in my situation I am a bit disappointed not to be on the podium. It’s pretty cool to wear the white jersey. We will see how the TTT goes tomorrow. It won’t be easy to keep the jersey but I will enjoy it a lot.
Now I focus on stage 4. It should be a bunch sprint again. In a good day, with a small bunch, I believe in my own chances. I am very confident with today’s stage, while the race and opponents are quite strong. It will depend on the recovery, day’s scenario, … but I believe in a stage win although a podium would be good already. »
Sebastien Demarbaix (sports director):
“We knew Dion sprints very fast but we didn’t expect him to beat Greipel in a bunch sprint. We went for top 10 so 4th is great. It won’t be easy to go for overall ranking with the TTT.
We will see what Thomas Degand and Guillaume Martin are able to do in the moutain stages (3rd, 5th). But we can adapt our plans now. We can wait for the final in other stages because Dion is fast in the sprint. The 4th stage with a climb with 15km to go should suit him, as well as stages 6 and 7. We can look confidently to the next days.”