VolCAT outdoes itself once again. Who will be the winner?22-03-2018
A record VolCAT has reached 1100 participants from 25 nationalities.
Since 2004 committing to the best stage-based races. 13 years of growing, to make VolCAT a benchmark in this event category. More than a decade of commitment to a 3-stage format that combines entertainment and effort. A format with room for the best bikers in the world alongside keen amateur athletes. All those years working to build an event with a unique atmosphere and all the services you can imagine for an unforgettable Easter. Combine tourism and sport, compete against the best bike-marathon riders, fight for UCI points or discover the Igualada countryside with pedal power. There are as many reasons as there are bikers registered for the event... So saying that VolCAT has outdone itself again and hung up the ‘No More Room’ sign actually means quite a lot. A lot of bikers will pedal along their routes for the various events organised by Ocisport over the course of these three intense days of MTB.
Pedal beside the best bikers
VolCAT has always been characterised by the extraordinary efforts it has maintained to seek victory. 2018 will be no exception. An extensive and complete line-up of bikers will begin an event that - albeit with a clear favourite - will have many candidates for the top 10 positions.
Tiago Ferreira of Portugal (DMT Racing) is the man everyone will be watching. Not only because he is the current champion of the bike-marathon world but because he is also defending the title after winning the VolCAT last year. If that wasn’t enough, he is returning with the strongest team of them all. DMT Racing will be bringing everyone, including Hans Becking of the Netherlands and Jose Dias of Portugal. Both these men could fight for victory if their leader fails them.
But a long list of competitors stands before them. Hugo Drechou (Massi) could be one of the most dangerous bikers. Although highly focused on the XCO, the VolCAT distances and the fact that it takes place over three days could give him an opportunity to shine. Something similar could be said of Ben Zwiehoff of Germany (Bergamont), another XCO biker who did very well last year. With the experience gained from 2017, he could be even more dangerous this year in the struggle for overall victory.
Hector Leonardo Paez is a major name in bike-marathon events. The Colombian already knows what it’s like to win the VolCAT and has the potential to repeat that feat. He is also riding with a strong team (el Giant - Liv Polimedical), an important factor in many stages of the race.
Belgium also has several names in the top spots. Sebastien Carabin (Merida-Wallonie) is a VolCAT veteran and also keen to climb places on his performance last year. His compatriot Jens Schuermans (Scott Creuse Oxygene), who took part in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, is entirely capable of a podium finish at VolCAT 2018. A former bike-marathon world champion, Ilias Periklis, completes the list of overseas bikers with a chance of victory. That said, a surprise is never out of the question from among the over 20 nationalities represented at the starting line.
In terms of the Spanish teams, it is worth noting the presence of Ever Alejandro Gómez (Olympia Factory) and Ismael Ventura (ESMTB.com), who both did very well at the recent Corró d’Amunt Biking Point Catalan International Cup. Ismael Ventura is also the current Spanish bike-marathon champion. It will also be worth keeping an eye on Josep Betalú (top-10 in 2017) and Guillem Muñoz (11th last year).
Very open women’s race
There are still no safe bets in the women’s category. Claudia Galicia (Megamo) will be here to defend her victory in 2017, but won’t have an easy job doing so. Katja Montani, runner-up last year, will also be back to try again. These two are just the top of a long list of international participants that also includes Fasolis Costanza, Cemile Trommer, Sarah Reiners, Rebecca Leaper, Bettina Janas, Naima Madlen and Chloé Passelande.
From among the Spanish bikers, you should definitely follow the progress made by Ramona Gabriel and Sandra Santanyes, two riders who usually perform well at stage-based events.
One thing that represented a huge quality leap forward at VolCAT 2017, it was the introduction of new routes around Igualada. These routes perfectly combined entertaining and accessible track sections with road sections to make overtaking easier and eat up the kilometres. Basing themselves on those routes, Ocisport has done some fine tuning to polish up a few details and perfect the result. Whether by adding or improving track sections on some stages, such as the main day on Saturday, or by creating completely new sections while following the same design criteria, as you will see on the first and last stages.
The great novelty of this edition will be the race festival, in which a host of activities will be organized for all ages, from a VolCAT Children, in which the youngest will be the protagonists on the bike, to an excursion in e-bike for the third stage route. In addition, there will be different activities such as woodpark, pumptrack, inflatables, push bike trial, etc.