The 102nd Volta a Catalunya will be held from March 20 to 26 and is presented as one of the most interesting dishes of this start of the season. The start of the year for Remco Evenepoel or the return of Egan Bernal are great incentives for the show, but if this Volta has something different, it is that its poster full of important names promises us equality, something that has been lacking in other great stage races such as Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico. For this reason, at PlanetaBici.com we bring you a list analyzing those runners who deserve special attention during the mythical Catalan race of this 2023.
The 'pitbull' opens his 2023 calendar with this Volta a Catalunya but that is no reason to think that his performance will not be optimal. We have already seen how Pogacar, Vingegaard or even Roglic himself started the year, dominating their first competitions. The best Evenepoel is expected, but the competition will be fierce.
The Slovenian has shown strength in the Tirreno-Adriatico, showing that the injuries are over and now it is his turn to face the first game of the season against Evenepoel knowing what it is to win this year. It will be the first assault of 2023 between these two beasts that will cross paths again in the Giro.
'Form is temporary, quality is permanent'. That prodigy who won the 2019 Tour de France will have to prove that this sentence is true and that he can continue to sit at the table of the greats despite having spent almost a year in the dry dock. No one doubts his capabilities, but... Will he be able to bring out his full potential in his big comeback?
They will not be his first official kilometers with Education First but they should be the first at the highest competitive level. The Ecuadorian champion begins a new path after his departure from INEOS and is expected to assimilate his new role very quickly: to be the sole and absolute leader in his team.
Adam Yates was signed as a luxury domestique for Pogacar ahead of the Tour but it is known by all that the Briton has the stature to do much more than that. He will start as the first sword in the UAE and without Pogacar in the squad he will have to show that he can also act as a leader when necessary.
It seems that INEOS wants to cover its back by lining up Geraint Thomas for the Volta in case Bernal does not meet expectations. If that happens, Thomas must be there to show that, despite having changed his glasses, he hasn't lost an iota of his magic.
In the absence of confirmation from some teams, it seems that Mikel Landa is going to be the Spanish reference in this Volta. The Basque cyclist has started the season in great shape and should be able to do well in this Volta a Catalunya.
The Frenchman from the DSM admitted, after a great seventh position overall in Paris-Nice, that he was demotivated to see the overwhelming superiority that Tadej Pogacar exerted over the rest and that he would not continue cycling for long if he continued to receive those beatings . Despite being very far from 'Pogi', Bardet showed good legs and without the Slovenian animal in Catalonia perhaps he can do something interesting.
How many lines will have been written about what the perfect domestique would be like? The same ones in which it has been described who Sepp Kuss is. The North American is the partner that every cyclist who competes for the general classification wants to have and for Roglic he will surely be a huge help, especially if we take into account how climbing this Volta is going to be.
To finish we go with Jay Vine. The Australian was one of the great revelations of last season and that earned him to sign a contract with UAE. We could be in front of one of the great undercover if he is capable of getting into a prolific leak taking advantage of the fact that he is not a reference in the UAE and the rivals should be more aware of Adam Yates or Joao Almeida than of him.