01 Oct 2017
The first edition of the GAES Catalunya Bike Race presented by Shimano ended with the general classification victories of Francesc Guerra and Clàudia Galicia for Elite Men and Elite Women. Both mountain bike racers led the race from the first stage time trial, although their paths to victory have been different.
The two champions reached the race’s third and final stage in first place, but while Galicia had more than an 8-minute lead, Guerra had to defend his lead of a little more than sixty seconds. The stage was contested at the La Molina Bike Park and traversed a grassy landscape with lots of single-track until reaching the mountain’s base: the stage’s lowest point. Starting from this point, racers began a sustained climb of more than 50 minutes, which sorted the lead groups. Upon reaching the stage’s highest point — above 2,000 meters, the final descent began through La Molina's Bike Park, where all the riders — both amateurs and professionals suffered some very demanding final few kilometers, but they also had fun riding the off-camber turns, curves, and jumps.
Francesc Guerra fends off all attacks
Although Sergio Mantecón (Trek) won the stage, the great winner of the day was Francesc Guerra. The Buff-Scott racer finished with a total time of 6:17:41 and was able to fend off attacks from all his rivals to finish with a 2'30” lead over Georg Egger (Lexware) and 3'49” ahead of third-place Mariusz Michalek (JBG).
Today's stage was decided at the end of the last climb. At that point, Mantecón advanced to a Guerra who was riding without taking risks on the last descent, thus ensuring that he would maintain his position until arriving at the finish to claim first place in the general classification.
The Catalan mountain biker is putting a stamp on a terrific season, having already won the La Rioja Bike Race presented by Shimano and now, having been crowned the first winner in the history of GAES Catalunya Bike Race presented by Shimano.
"I knew I was in a good shape, but I didn’t expect to win. I felt good from the first day and, after earning a hard-won first place, I'm on a cloud right now," Guerra said. "The race terrain was ideal, there is no better territory for mountain biking than La Cerdanya," concluded the Catalan.
For his part, today’s stage winner declared at the finish line, "You could tell that we were riding pretty evenly matched, but I went from less to more and in this last stage, I felt really good. I like this 3-day format a lot, the length is manageable and the routes are beautiful, authentic mountain bike trails.”
Clàudia Galicia yields nothing to her rivals
Clàudia Galicia never quenched her thirst for victory despite repeating several times that she was not in her best shape of the season after going from alpine skiing straight to mountain biking almost without rest. She won every single stage of the first edition of the Catalan race.
The Polar Trek team mountain biker won today’s stage and commanded the general classification with an overall time of 8:00:15, 10'51” ahead of Hildeguun Hovdenak (VPG), and 14'57” with respect to third-place Natalia Fischer (Trek).
"This was the bike race where I suffered the most, I won but I found it difficult to enjoy because I was very tired. I rode wisely, conserving energy on the climbs and giving everything I had on the descents. I am very happy; it was a very beautiful edition and I hope everyone enjoyed it and will come back again next year."
GC Winners in other categories
Master 30 - Pablo Egeda (Biking Point) (6:57:42)
Master 40 - Tomàs Misser (Orbea Factory) (6:54:58)
Master 50- Pere Joan Roig (Vila Bike's) (7:19:42)
Master Women - Eva Martín (Roses Club) (9:51:46)