Sir Bradley Wiggins makes attacking start to Volta a Catalunya in Spain

Last Updated: 18/03/13 8:06pm

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Sir Bradley Wiggins: Led out the sprint by Gianni Meersman took victory

Sir Bradley Wiggins: Led out the sprint by Gianni Meersman took victory

Sky Bet

Sir Bradley Wiggins made his intentions clear at the Volta a Catalunya as he split the peloton with an attacking finish to stage one.

The Tour de France winner initiated a 13-man breakaway on the final descent of the day into Calella.

Wiggins then led the group into the finishing straight, but it was Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) who sprinted to victory ahead of Valerio Agnoli (Astana) in second and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in third. The peloton followed 28 seconds later.

With general classification contenders Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Robert Gesink (Blanco), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) and Valverde all alive to Wiggins' move, it quickly became apparent the escape had a good chance of making it to the line.

The gap spun out along the coastal run-in and in the end the lead group landed a strong psychological blow in a stage that had looked like being a relatively innocuous sprint finish.

A decisive stage in last year's event, the day's break was kept firmly in check by the peloton this time around on a 159.3km loop around Calella.

After 15km Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Cristiano Salerno (Cannondale) forged clear on the uphill start and the first of three climbs of the Alt de Collsacreu.

The duo opened out a maximum gap of eight minutes 40 seconds as the race headed inland. Back in the pack, it was Movistar and Omega Pharma - Quick-Step who initially set about keeping the two men in check.

As the stage wore, on a number of teams were willing to help on the front, but with the break caught and 25km to go, it was Team Sky who hit the front on the final time over the Alt de Collsacreu to set the pace and keep a lid on attacks.

Over the summit, Wiggins pushed on and with a call to arms to the riders around him, the Briton plummeted on to the descent to cause panic in the group behind and an intriguing finish to day one.

Stage one result

1 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, 3:55.56
2 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana, same time
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, st
4 Dan Martin (Ire) Garmin-Sharp, st
5 Danilo Wyss (Sui) BMC, st
6 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, st
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco, st
8 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, st
9 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
10 David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky, st

General classification

1 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, 3:55.46
2 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana, +4secs
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +6
4 Dan Martin (Ire) Garmin-Sharp, +10
5 Danilo Wyss (Sui) BMC, same time
6 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, st
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco, st
8 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, st
9 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
10 David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky, st

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