29 Sep 2017
The first stage in the history of GAES Catalunya Bike Race presented by Shimano has witnessed the triumphs of Francesc Guerra and Clàudia Galicia. The Buff-Scott mountain biker worked well together with Georg Egger, with whom he shared the podium. Guerra scored the only time under two hours (01:58:34)
"The time trial stages are agonizing because despite advancing against your rivals, you never know who’s coming from behind", commented Guerra at the stage’s end. The winner highlighted the stage’s difficulty, especially in the third kilometer with a sustained climb of three or four kilometers at a 20 percent grade, and the final kicker before descending to the finish from km. 33.
"On the trail of the last climb I was able to leave Egger behind and solo the descent to the finish", added Guerra, who won the last edition of La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano, and who has not missed the first opportunity to present his candidacy for overall victory in the Catalan race. The Elite Men's podium was completed by Mariusz Michalek (JBG-2 Professional MTB Team) with a time of 02:00:12, and Daniele Braidot (Olympia Factory Cycling Team) with 02:00:24.
Clàudia Galicia (Cerdanya Skimo) has kicked off the GAES Catalunya Bike Race presented by Shimano by taking command of the general classification. Galicia, who is a race ambassador for this first edition, was the last one to leave the start line located in Bellver de Cerdanya and was the first to arrive at the finish with a time of 02:33:08.
Galicia was joined on the podium by Mercè Pacios (Cycling No Limit Travel) who clocked a time of 02:34:35, and by Hildegunn Gjertrud with 02:36:10. The three mountain bikers were the clear masters of the time trial —only three minutes separate them with number four in the general classification at nine minutes back from Galicia.
Other category winners are Tomàs Misser for Master 30, Albert Planas for Master 40, Pere Joan for Master 50, and Eva Martin in Master Women.
The first stage in the history of GAES Catalunya Bike Race presented by Shimano was a 43-kilometer time trial. It was an unusual stage for a prologue as racers were dispatched off the start line in groups of five at five-minute intervals in order to enjoy the Cerdanya trails and to avoid bottlenecks so that each one could find his or her rhythm. It was a short but hard stage, harder than most participants expected for its short distance (42.25 km.).
Just after leaving the Paddock located in Bellver de Cerdanya, the racers had to face a very short and steep but very hard climb that lasted about seven or eight minutes at kilometer 3. From this point, the stage was transformed into consistent rolling terrain that combined fast double-track and long stretches of single-track until kilometer 33 km.
In spite of knowing well what the race route was hiding, mountain bike racers like Sandra Santanyes and Sandra Jordà commented that, although the finish was the hardest, the part at the beginning was no walk in the park either. But without a doubt, the most demanding kilometers, both physically and technically, are yet to come.
After reaching Olopte, the stage traveled to the last feedzone located at kilometer 33, the beginning of the stage’s hardest part. Despite covering the first three kilometers of climbing with ease thanks to the firm, grassy terrain, the climb’s last kilometer became a steep ramp covered with loose stones that forced many participants to walk up to the center of Ordén. Subsequently, and to finish this edition’s first stage, participants anticipated a long, 7-kilometer descent: a technical and devilish descent whose name “Martí’s Inferno” (Infern del Martí) is not in vain. The destination of this trail was the finish located in Bellver de Cerdanya.