Chaos in Catalunya as snow temporarily hems in five teams
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chaos in Catalunya as snow temporarily hems in five teams

by Shane Stokes at 7:14 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta a Catalunya
Start continues as planned, riders facing another tough day

Volta a Catalunya snow

Following yesterday’s shortened stage in the Volta a Catalunya, which saw ten breakaway riders gain minutes on the peloton, fight for the win when the finish was moved to kilometre 155, but not be awarded any time gains in terms of the general classification, the race was again battling with the elements today.

Riders from five teams were stranded this morning due to a heavy snowfall at their hotel in the Port Ainé. Although it was deemed that conditions were too bad for the race to finish there yesterday, as had been scheduled, the teams still stayed in the ski resort last night.

This morning, cars were covered by snow and team buses were hemmed in.

Those affected were the Ag2r La Mondiale, FDJ BigMat, Katusha, Omega Pharma QuickStep and Saxo Bank teams. Riders such as Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma Quick Step) tweeted about the situation.

Volta a Catalunya snow“At this stage we have no idea on how to get to the start of race. And question 2 is there a race today?,” wrote Roche.

“Barely made it up to our 2000m hotel after the stage, now with a fresh meter of new snow, we can't get down to start the race. Circus!” said Leipheimer.

They also released photos, as did journalist Laura Meseguer also did the latter. Those shots show the complexity of the situation.

Race organisers arraged for snow ploughs to clear the roads and the riders were eventually able to start travelling to the start in Tremp. Reports suggest that the team buses remain stranded for now, with the riders’ luggage and spare bikes also delayed.

The start was due to take place at 12.25 CET, and the race is now underway. Today’s stage will proceed as planned, although the riders likely face another cold, wet day in the saddle.

Volta a Catalunya snowJanez Brajkovic (Astana) won yesterday’s stage but ended up not gaining time. Ditto for Saxo Bank’s Chris Anker Sorensen. The Danish team planned to protest this morning against the decision not to effect general classification changes, but was unable to do so due to it being temporarily snowed in.

Michael Albasini (GreenEdge) continues to lead, holding a one minute 32 second advantage over Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda), Mikael Cherel (AG2R La Mondiale), Steve Morabito (BMC Racing Team) and 24 others.

Over 30 riders pulled out yesterday, including Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek), Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing Team), Bradley Wiggins, Richie Porte (both Sky Procycling) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas Cannondale).

The race was previously held in May but the ProTour calendar saw it move to March in 2010.


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