Froome well off pace in Volta a Catalunya

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Cycling champion Chris Froome has endured a tough start at the Volta a Catalunya in Spain as he finished the first stage more than eight minutes behind the leader.

The four-time Tour de France winner crossed the line at the end of the 178.5km ride, which started and ended in Calella, in 97th position.

The Israel Start Up Nation rider came in eight minutes and 40 seconds after Danish stage winner Andreas Kron of Lotto-Soudal.

A large bunch of Australian riders including Richie Port (53rd), Chris Hamilton (44th), Callum Scotson (26th), Jai Hindley (25th) and others finished in the peloton, 26 seconds behind Kron.

Froome, who is hoping to find form ahead of this year's Tour, lost touch on the ascent of Port de Santa Fe del Montseny, a category-one climb. Peter Sagan (113th) also trailed with Froome.

Kron secured victory in a sprint finish, edging out Luis Leon Sanchez, Remy Rochas and Lennard Kamna.