The 2012 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya will begin tomorrow. Almost canceled due to lack of funding, the race has the makings of a classic with a star-studded field. Riders like Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma – Quick Step), and Bradley Wiggins (SKY) are on form and flying, while Andy Schleck (RadioShack) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) are still building form.
They will find a very hilly race with an out of category mountain top finish to stage threes Port-Aine, a day which features two first category and two out of category ascents. Beginning in Calella on Monday, the race will finish in Barcelona on Sunday the 25th. Without a time trial and a first category climb in the very first day, Wiggins and Leipheimer will find riders like 2010 winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank) a real threat for the overall. Leipheimer is hoping he has recovered from his falls at Paris-Nice enough to take advantage of his early season form, while Basso, also suffering from a fall at Paris-Nice, is trying to restart his Giro prep after abandoning the race to the sun on stage six.
Stage1: Monday, March19th Calella – Calella
Stage2: Tuesday, March 20 161 km Girona – Girona
Stage3: Wednesday, March 21 211 km La Vall d’en Bas – Port-Ain
Stage4: Thursday, March 22 199 km Tremp – Asc La vostra energia
Stage5: Friday, March 23 207 km Asc La vostra energia – Manresa
Stage6: Saturday, March 24 169 km Sant Fruits de Bages – Badalona Centre Comercial Mgic
Stage7: Sunday, March 25 120 km Badalona Centre Comercial Mgic – Barcelona