Albasini wins opening stage in Catalunya

Mon, 19 Mar 16:38:00 2012

Michael Albasini continued GreenEdge's impressive form in 2012 with victory on the opening stage of the Volta a Catalunya.

Cyclist Swiss Michael Albasini of Greenedge Cycling Team raises his arms after crossing the finish line to win the first stage of the Tour of Catalonia cycling race from Calella to Calella, near Barcelona on March 19, 2012 - 0

Just two days after Simon Gerrans stormed to victory in the Milan-San Remo race, Swiss rider Albasini impressed in taking the day one victory on the 138.9km stage in Calella.

"It's great to get the win," said Albasini. "The first win with a new team is always very special. I worked hard in the off season. To see this work pay off for me and the team is important."

He was part of a five-man breakaway after an hour of racing, along with Anthony Delaplace (Saur Sojasun), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Ben Gastauer (AG2R La Mondiale) and Timothy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

Their advantage over the peloton peaked at over six minutes - but in the final 25km it began to be whittled down.

However, sensing an opportunity, Albasini made an early dash for the line and made it stick, to end the day with a healthy 42-second advantage over France's Delaplace and a 1:14 margin to Edet in third.

"I realised if I could unload the other guys in the break, I had a good chance of making it to the finish," he added. "At that point, I wasn't sure if I could hold off the bunch chasing behind."

Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins, recently victorious in the Paris-Nice race, was well down the field, along with other leading names Andy Schleck and Alejandro Valverde.

The seven-stage Volta a Catalunya continues tomorrow with a 161km loop from Girona, which includes a category one climb late on.

Albasini wins opening stage

Eurosport

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