Volta a Catalunya kicks off with big names on start line

The 98th edition of the country’s World Tour cycling stage race continues until Sunday

Cyclists prepare for start of Volta a Catalunya in previous edition (by ACN)
Cyclists prepare for start of Volta a Catalunya in previous edition (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 19, 2018 12:48 PM

The 98th edition of the Volta a Catalunya, the country’s very own World Tour cycling stage race, kicks off on Monday, with some big names on the start line.

Some of the star names taking part this year include Alejandro Valverde (last year’s winner), the Colombian Nairo Quintana, Italian Fabio Aru, Warren Barguil and Thibaut Pinot from France, and Catalonia’s very own Marc Soler who recently finished first in the Paris to Nice race. Soler came in third in last year’s Volta a Catalunya.

Other international participants include brothers Adam and Simon Yates from Britain, Irishman Dan Martin, and Colombian Sergio Henao. In total, 247 cyclists from all over the world are taking part in 27 different teams.

The race is made up of seven stages taking place over seven days until Sunday March 25. The tour begins in the coastal town of Calella, to the north of Barcelona, before cyclists head west and then north up to the Pyrenees mountains, all the way up close to the French and Andorran borders.

After a few days up in high altitudes, the cyclists then begin their descent back down toward sea level before finishing in the Catalan capital itself.

The Volta a Catalunya is one of the big races at the start of the cycling season, and is a good warm-up for many of the bigger names in the sport before tackling races such as the Tour de France.

It may not be among the longest road touring routes, but the Volta a Catalunya is among the oldest still-existing cycling stage races in the world. It was first held in 1911, just two years after the Giro d’Italia which began in 1909, the Tour of Belgium (1908), and the Tour of France (1903).