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Catalunya Stage 1: Paterski Nabs Win; Trio Seizes Control

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Paterski celebrates a glorious win; Rolland rues his fate
Paterski celebrates a glorious win; Rolland rues his fate
Quique Garcia, AFP/Getty

Maciej Paterski of CCC Sprandi-Polkowice outsprinted Pierre Rolland of Europcar and Bart De Clercq of Lotto-Soudal to take the opening win in the Volta a Catalunya in Calella, Spain, but the real story belongs to all three riders. The trio took off after the opening action settled down and gained as much as 13 minutes on the peloton, before coming home with 2.40 in hand.

For each, the day came with some spoils. Paterski garnered his first major pro victory, a day after finishing Milano-Sanremo in 22nd place -- itself a real badge of honor. Along with the win comes bonus seconds, placing him in the overall lead; points placing him atop the points competition, and KOM points earned earlier and securing him that classification as well.

Rolland, the best climber of the three, has a legitimate shot to win the overall title. De Clercq might end up a bit empty-handed, but if the lead changes hands as a result of minor moves over the next two days, he stands to take a turn in the overall lead.

Paterski's win came with a bit of impatience by De Clercq, who twice tried to escape in the final kilometer, ending up on the front as the sprint opened up. Rolland came from the back to try for the win, but Paterski had just enough to counter and take it. Tosh Van Der Sande led the peloton home a bit later.

Tomorrow's stage includes some small climbs, including a cat-3 close to the finish. The result will likely mean more time in the lead for today's heroic threesome, though Paterski's KOM jersey could be under threat if he fails to defend it. Starting Wednesday the bigger climbs begin, and all bets will be off then.

GC:

  1. Maciej Paterski, CCC Sprandi-Polkowice
  2. Pierre Rolland, Europcar, at 0.04
  3. Bart De Clercq, Lotto-Soudal, at 0.08
  4. Wout Poels, Sky, at 2.47
  5. Nicolas Roche, Sky, at 2.48