Van Wilder impresses at Volta a Catalunya
La Molina returned at the Volta a Catalunya for the first time since 2019, and sticking to the script of the previous years it featured on the course, the 12.1km ascent didn’t bring any significant gaps between the general classification favourites, even though this time it was climbed from a different side.
Not long after the start, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl lost Fausto Masnada, who abandoned the race through illness, but the team still had one card to play, Ilan Van Wilder – a top 10 finisher last month at the Tour de la Provence. The young Belgian, who joined the Wolfpack ahead of this season, was part of the select front group that arrived at the bottom of La Molina, where Ben O’Connor (AG2R-Citroen) showed his intentions by attacking early.
As more and more contenders launched attack after attack, increasing the tempo and further shedding riders out the back, Ilan remained calm in the bunch and conserved his energy before putting in a dig of his own with four kilometers to go. The others reacted and brought him back, and the 21-year-old eventually arrived at the finish part of this group, just nine seconds down on the winner. His solid display elevated Van Wilder four positions in the rankings, where he sits in 12th place ahead of the second mountain top finish.
Photo credit: ©David Ramos / Getty Images