Michael Albasini of Team GreenEdge Powers to Second Consecutive Stage Victory in 2012 Tour of Catalonia
Michael Albasini secured a second victory for Team GreenEdge in the 2012 Volta a Catlunaya in the second day of racing in North-Eastern Spain earlier today.
Michael Albasini secured a second victory for Team GreenEdge in the 2012 Volta a Catlunaya in the second day of racing in North-Eastern Spain earlier today. Wearing the race leader's jersey, Albasini won the sprint to the finish line from a breakaway group that had survived the category 1 Alt dels Angels climb immediately before the finish in Girona - home of many pro road cyclists.
Albasini crossed the finish line in front of Dario Cataldo of Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Team Sky's Columbian rider Rigoberto Uran.
"It was fantastic to win yesterday and have the leader's jersey today," Albasini commented after the stage finish and added "To win a stage in the jersey is a good feeling. I'm happy to pay back my teammates with one more victory after they worked so hard for me the whole day."
It was a hard-earned victory for GreenEDGE who, according to a team spokesperson, once again started the day with a two-pronged approach.
"We had two objectives today," Team GreenEdge Sports Director Neil Stephens said and continued "Our first objective was a bit out of our hands. It involved getting Allan Davis over the final climb so that he could contest the sprint. This was a really high expectation, and it didn't happen. Our second objective was to maintain the race lead. We did that, and amazingly we still managed to take the stage win."
Team GreenEDGE claims it has no overall ambitions in the seven-day Tour of Catalonia race, which favors pure climbers. Stephens said the team was, therefore, eager to secure one more day in the leader's jersey. With that goal in mind, when the day's early break of three riders gained a near eight minute advantage, Stephens sent the team to the front to bring down the gap.
Sprint specialist "Julian Dean went to the front and set a nice, steady tempo," Stephens explained "This put the team at the front before the windy section of the stage and it also helped reduce the gap."
Albasini was the leading breakaway group's final rider to crest over the Alt dels Angels, closing in on the city of Girona. As three riders went up the road, he kept calm on the descent knowing that he was one of the fastest finishers in the bunch should the move come back to the field.
"I went so hard on the uphill, and I knew there were no pure sprinters left," Albasini explained and added "I thought this made me one of the fastest in the small bunch. I suffered a lot on the last climb, so I wasn't sure if my legs were fresh for the sprint. I thought Cataldo would be one of the fastest guys, so I went on his wheel. When he moved up, I followed, and in the end, he gave me the perfect leadout. The sprint could not have gone better for me."
The peloton faces the toughest stage of the 2012 Volta a Catalunya tomorrow. The Queen stage is the longest of the week with two category one climbs and two hors categorie climbs, concluding with a summit finish.
"I was happy yesterday with the first stage win," Albasini said with eyes full of joy and concluded "Two stages is even better. The team has really come together well. Tomorrow is a hard day with some really tough climbs. I hope to enjoy one more day in the leader's jersey before I lose it to someone else."
Watch video highlights from all stages of the 2012 Volta a Catalunya / Tour of Catalonia in our video section (US only).