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Volta a Catalunya: the 17th place of Jose Mendes

The Latvian Gatis Smukulis from the team of HTC-High Road became the winner of the first stage of the race of Volta a Catalunya. After a lonely finish at the finishing line in Lloret de Mar he beat Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) and Jose Joaquin Rojas from Movistar.

The hero of the first stage of the race was the Latvian Gatis Smukulis who right after the start initiated a break-away which was continued by him until his solitary finish, and the stage win at the finishing line in Lloret de Mar. In the break-away group, apart from Gatis, there were also Ben Gastauer (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Julian Sanchez Pimienta (Caja Rural) and Javier Ramirez (Andalucia). The four escapees cooperating harmoniously quickly gained advantage over the peloton, which reached over 12 minutes at the 80th kilometer of the route.
When the cyclists had fewer and fewer kilometers left before the finishing line a joint pursuit started in the peloton. Gastauer, Pimienta and Ramirez were caught up with by the peloton first, whereas Smukulis continued his solitary escape. The advantage of the Latvian cyclist was sufficient for him to cross the finishing line alone, with an advantage of a minute and a half, despite the reckless pursuit of the peloton. He became the winner of the stage and the first leader of the race. The peloton was brought to the finishing line by the excellent sprint cyclist of the Lampre team, Alessandro Petacchi, and he was second to stand on the podium, defeating Jose Joaquin Rojas from the team of Movistar.

In the main peloton, consisting of about 90 cyclists Jose Mendes (CCC Polsat Polkowice) arrived at the finishing line in Lloret de Mar, taking the 17th position. The other CCC cyclists came to the finishing line in distant places, several minutes adrift of the winner.

The results of stage 1; Lloret de Mar, 166.9 km

1. Gatis Smukulis (Lat) HTC-Highroad 4:08:48
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre – ISD 0:00:28
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team

17. José Mendes (Por)
93. Tomasz Marczyński 0:03:14
115. Adrian Honkisz 0:08:53
125. Łukasz Bodnar
144. Mariusz Witecki 0:13:17
146. Marek Rutkiewicz
150. Jacek Morajko
151. Błażej Janiaczyk