25 Mar 2024

A collective effort for the win

At this year’s Volta Catalunya Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS may have missed out on the goals it had set for the race beforehand, being a stage win and a podium result on GC. It compensated for that by winning the team classification, and throughout the week Antonio Tiberi got stronger by the day.

This year’s Volta Catalunya saw an extraordinarily strong field of competitors and served up a demanding course. There was no lack of ascending even on those days where sprinters could fancy a chance, and the race counted no less than the three mountain-top finishes. Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS brought Wout Poels and Antonio Tiberi to the stage race as its co-captains, who could rely on the support of Damiano Caruso, Jack Haig and Torstein Traeen. For sprint decisions, Edoardo Zambanini and Nicolo Buratti were free to try their respective hand. The first stage ended with a scare for the team as both Wout Poels and Damiano Caruso could not avoid a crash on the final kilometre. Luckily both riders got away with minor damages only and could continue racing the next day.

This second day ended with the long climb to Vallter 2000 that got even more demanding for all riders as heavy rain and low temperatures set in. Neither Wout Poels nor Antonio Tiberi could match the pace of the strongest climbers, losing more than two minutes to the day’s winner, Tadej Pogacar, as a consequence. On the next day, both riders showed a much better performance on the final ascent to the ski resort of Port Ainé: They would not jump onto early attacks and paced their effort well to pass a handful of riders on the last two kilometres. As a reward, Antonio Tiberi scored a podium result by crossing the finish line in 3rd, with Wout Poels on his wheel finishing in 4th. The following two stages came down to sprints of a reduced peloton. In Lleida, Nicolo Buratti crossed the finish line in 12th, and Edoardo Zambanini sprinted to 11th place in Viladecans the next day.

Wrapping up the Volta Catalunya was the Queen’s stage, with an aggregate of more than 4000 meters of climbing and the classic stage around Barcelona’s Montjuic hill. Antonio Tiberi rode a strong stage on the way to Queralt. While Wout Poels got dropped, the young Italian never lost contact with the group chasing Tadej Pogacar. In the end, Tiberi missed out on a top 5 result on the stage narrowly but moved up to the top 10 on GC. Wout Poels, on the other hand, lost too much time to keep himself in that top 10, dropping back to 11th. The animated conclusive stage would not see any changes on GC anymore. As the best-placed rider of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, Antonio Tiberi finished the Volta Catalunya in 8th place on GC and in 2nd in the young rider’s classification. More importantly, the consistent riding throughout the week resulted in the win of the team classification at this World Tour race.

With the E3 Saxo Classic and Gent-Wevelgem, two Belgian semiclassics dubbed as the general rehearsal for the Ronde van Vlaanderen were raced as well. Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS fielded a team in support of Matej Mohoric, with Fred Wright acting as a backup. The E3 Saxo Classic was raced under harsh conditions with lots of rain, and Matej Mohoric and Fred Wright had to settle for 15th and 20th, respectively. Two days later, both riders crossed the finish line in the first chasing group, a mere 16 seconds adrift of the duo that sprinted for the win. While Mohoric did slightly better by finishing in 13th, Fred Wright finished in 21st. 


1. Tadej Pogacar, SVN, in 4:34.25 hours
2. Mikel Landa, ESP, + 0.48
3. Antonio Tiberi, ITA/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, + 1.03

1. TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, BHR, in 85:32.47 hours
2. Movistar Team, ESP, + 2.08
3. Ineos Grenadiers, GBR, + 2.09

1. Lenny Martinez, FRA, in 28:27.31 hours
2. Antonio Tiberi, ITA/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, + 0.31
3. Johannes Kulset, NOR, + 9.13

Photos: Sprint Cycling Agency