The Catalan week ended as usual around Barcelona and the hill Montjuic this Sunday. As often, and despite an intense race and numerous attacks, the terrain did not prove hard enough to make gaps between the GC contenders. A group of about twenty men then finished in the sprint, and Tadej Pogacar took his fourth victory of the week, in addition to the overall victory. Up there in the final, Lenny Martinez secured his seventh place in GC, which is also his first top-10 in a WorldTour stage race.

After six days of racing in Spain, the peloton was heading to Barcelona on Sunday for the seventh and final stage. After a large loop east of the Catalan capital, six laps of the Montjuic circuit awaited the riders. “We approached the stage being really focused on Lenny because we knew it could be a tricky day,” explained Thierry Bricaud. “At the time of the briefing, it was also raining a little, and so we were a bit apprehensive because it could have made the race much more dangerous in the final. In the end, we did the entire stage on dry roads. It was a good thing for Lenny to possibly gain a few places because we knew there could be some moves and a few surprises.” Before the serious things began on the final circuit, five riders took off in the first part of the race: Georg Steinhauser, Ander Okamika, Jimmy Janssens, Idar Andersen and Harrison Wood. As they entered Barcelona, after almost a hundred kilometers, their gap was only one minute, while counterattacks were already taking place in the bunch. The latter also gradually became thinner, but still remained quite substantial with three laps to go.

“We achieved our goal”, Thierry Bricaud

A lap later, the breakaway was caught, and the favorites finally came into action. Tadej Pogacar made a first attack, but everything came together on the descent and before the bell rang for the last lap. Then, in the final climb of Montjuic (2.5 km at 5.6%), and more specially in the last 500 meters averaging 11%, the final moves occurred. The favorites went deep, and Lenny Martinez moved to sixth position at the top, not far from Pogacar. “He was very focused, and right up there with the best at the top of the last climb,” said Thierry. “There is always a bit of tension in a final stage because you want to secure your place overall, or even improve it,” explained the young man. “I like this circuit and I did it last year. We managed to make some gaps at a certain point, but there were always guys to pull and come back.” This is also the scenario that prevailed after the last climb, following which all the favorites came together to head towards the finish line. Tadej Pogacar then sprinted to his fourth victory of the week, also sealing his overall win.

Lenny Martinez took fifteenth place of the day, also securing his seventh place overall. “The week’s balance is good,” said the Frenchman. “I am seventh overall, but a few seconds behind fourth place. The goal was to be in the top 10, and as high as possible. We reached it. I was able to fight with the best. I’m not surprised, I think that’s where I belong. I gave everything anyway. The best young rider jersey is a nice bonus. I didn’t think much about it coming here, but it’s always nice to be at the ceremony of the last stage.” “We have no regrets today,” added Thierry. “The regret we have is that Lenny is not where he should be considering the week he’s had, because he was among the five strongest, but that’s part of cycling. We came for a top-10 overall, we achieved our goal, but we’re a bit frustrated because there was room to do much better. Overall we are satisfied. We should have had Rudy and Lars here, but we ended up with riders a bit less comfortable with climbing and it wasn’t easy for them. Eventually, it didn’t go so bad, and it’s a great week. We note that Lenny keeps his start of the season momentum going, while some of his teammates discovered what the very high level. It will be useful to them for the future.”

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