In perfect conditions – thankfully without rain or significant winds – Belgian’s Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) has won the final stage of the Volta a Catalunya (Tour of Catalonia), with Sky’s David Lopez in second and RadioShack-Leopard’s Robert Kišerlovski third. But despite the podium places of the day it was Garmin-Sharp’s Daniel Martin who claimed overall victory in a total time of 29h02’25”; making him only the second Irishman ever to have won the Volta a Catalunya after Sean Kelly last took the honours back in 1984 and 86. Martin had already taken control of the Volta when he won Stage 4 – the so-called ‘Queen Stage’ – last Thursday; from then he had looked unlikely (certainly unwilling) to give anything away.
Today’s 122km route from El Vendrell to Barcelona – with eight sapping loops of Montjuďc (a cat 3 climb) – saw a group of five leading out in the final circuit with another four in the gap behind; all bets on the day’s winner seemed to be off even in the final kilometre, but the final shakedown ultimately saw De Gendt take the line.
Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins had started the day 54seconds adrift and, even with the time bonuses on offer for Day 7, it was never a gap that could realistically be closed by any significant degree; he ended the day fifth in general classification still on +54seconds.