Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2022 (March 21-27)

Time for some more stage racing. Just like last year it's the first WT stage race without Roglic and Pogacar, and just like last year Ineos have a very strong squad... QED?

Also the route is pretty bad this year, much more sprinter-friendly than usual (yet we still don't have many sprinters) and both the MTFs are really meh.

Startlist

The route

Stage 1
It's not a carbon copy of the 2019 stage in the same town, but the final climb and approach to the finish line are the same as in that year's race, which then resulted in a win for Michael Matthews.


San Miquel d'Aro (first 4.4k only)


Alt de Santa Pellaia:


Alt de la Ganga:


Alt de Romanyà:


Puig de les Forques (penultimate hill; minus the final ramp):


Final kilometre:


Stage 2
A rare trek into French Catalonia that would be a lot more interesting if it ended at least 30 kilometres sooner.


Coll de Sa Perafita:


Coll del Frare:


Coll dels Belitres:


There's a 45-degree turn inside the final 300 metres.

Stage 3
Nobody's favourite annual MTF.


Mont-Louis:


Col de Fau:


Collada de Toses:


La Molina:


Stage 4
Unlike the previous MTF, this climb is unknown to the professional peloton, having not been raced in 20 years. Just like the previous MTF, it isn't suited to proper gaps.


Coll de Boixols:


Coll de la Creu de Perves:


Boí Taüll:
 
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Stage 5
How do you feel about another sprint opportunity?


Coll de Comiols:


The finale isn't the easiest again with a roundabout at 500 metres to go.

Stage 6
...and how about another? At least the breakaway has a decent chance this time.


Coll de les Llebres Mussara:


Coll de Capafons (from the junction to Mont-Ral):


Coll de Albarca:


La Morera de Montsant (from Cornudella):


Gratallops:


Collet del Pere Joan:


Coll de la Teixeta:


Stage 7
Same circuit as last year, when it was changed from the (easier) classic one.


Corbera de Llobregat (until Rotonda Corbera only):


Pla de Pelach:


Final circuit:
 
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I actually quite like that ascent to La Molina. It's just a shame that the stage sucks.
There just aren't really any good passes to put before it. They've tried Creueta in the past, that leaves the side of Toses which ends with 4k at about 9%. The summit of that side is about 7.5k from the line by the direct route, though, so it's probably best to just do that instead of descend from Toses to the normal side of La Molina as the descent is horrible for attackers.

That being said, they could have put some more interesting climbs in the French part of Cerdanya instead of this side of Toses. For example, is the road to Err-Puigmal open as far as the junction just below Cotzé this time of year? And Col de la Llose?
 
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They could do it twice, like previously. It worked well the last two years as the last mountain stage. It's okay if it mostly produces small gaps, so I'm happy with this side.

If they do it after Vallter 2000, I'd prefer Canes -> Creueta -> Toses (from Toses) -> La Molina (from Alp). If they come from the other side (e.g. after Ainé or a visit in Andorra), they should either do it twice or if length permits do the similar loop to include the steep side of Toses.

 
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But then Evenepoel would show up and win and we would have prime CNF content and we cant have that
I'd be down with an actual steep (as in Evenepoel-can't-climb steep) TT.

Tobias Halland Johannessen should have a fair shot at a top 10 I believe.
I think there are about 30 riders with a fair shot at a top 10.


Someone can tell me if Valverde can win this volta or Simon yates is the main favourite?
Yes.
 
5 stars - Valverde, Simon Yates,
4 stars - Masnada, Haig, Quintana
3 stars - Porte, Carlos Rodriguez, Hidley, Higuita,
2 stars - Carapaze, O'connor, Woods, Van Wilder, Almeida, Ciccone, Chaves, Valter, Oomen,
1 star - Sosa, Verona, Sivakov, Hirt, Fulgsang, Soler, G Martin, JP Lopez, Uran, Carthy, Powless, Storer, Poels, Dumolin, Charmig, Tobias Halland Johnssen
 
5 stars - Valverde, Simon Yates,
4 stars - Masnada, Haig, Quintana
3 stars - Porte, Carlos Rodriguez, Hidley, Higuita,
2 stars - Carapaze, O'connor, Woods, Van Wilder, Almeida, Ciccone, Chaves, Valter, Oomen,
1 star - Sosa, Verona, Sivakov, Hirt, Fulgsang, Soler, G Martin, JP Lopez, Uran, Carthy, Powless, Storer, Poels, Dumolin, Charmig, Tobias Halland Johnssen
Why is Masnada not 5 stars?
 
5 stars - Valverde, Simon Yates,
4 stars - Masnada, Haig, Quintana
3 stars - Porte, Carlos Rodriguez, Hidley, Higuita,
2 stars - Carapaze, O'connor, Woods, Van Wilder, Almeida, Ciccone, Chaves, Valter, Oomen,
1 star - Sosa, Verona, Sivakov, Hirt, Fulgsang, Soler, G Martin, JP Lopez, Uran, Carthy, Powless, Storer, Poels, Dumolin, Charmig, Tobias Halland Johnssen
I don't think you can be that specific when most riders still building their form and targeting / not targeting races, but I agree with Valverde / Yates and would add Quintana. Maybe Rodriguez could pull a surprise and watch out for Almeida building his form for Il Giro, despite the lack of an ITT.
 
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