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“The guy in front let a gap go with around 600m to go and I had to close it, but the good thing about the stage is that even after a long, hard and cold stage I still had good legs."

Photo: Sirotti

NIKIAS ARNDT

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TIRRENO - ADRIATICO

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16.03.2015 @ 18:33 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Nikias Arndt took a gutsy seventh place at the end of a wet, cold and nervous final road stage at Tirreno-Adriatico after a testing 210km of racing.

 

The stage was a final sprint opportunity ahead of tomorrow’s final individual time trial that rounds out the week-long race. The fast-men did have their day, but only those who survived the day’s climb and the tempestuous weather conditions, with a reduced bunch of around 50 riders coming into the finish together from which Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was the quickest to the line.

 

The day started much as the previous stages have done – with a flurry of attacks to form the day’s breakaway. It took a few kilometres for the bunch to decide which escape would break free but in the end three riders pulled clear to enjoy some freedom and try to stay warm under the ever-increasing downpour.

 

The stage hinged on a tough climb with 70km to go and the pressure at the front of the bunch served to split the bunch in two, and also to spell the end to the breakaway. Team Giant-Alpecin were left with Arndt, Chad Haga and Albert Timmer at the front of the race.

 

Behind, Luka Mezgec called it a day at the feed zone, still not feeling 100% after his flu before the race together with his high-speed crash on the opening stage.

 

Attacks came and went but the front group was to stay together until the finish to fight out the stage, and after controlling for much of the stage it was Tinkoff-Saxo who took the honours with Arndt fighting  all the way to the line to make up ground after having to come from a long way back in the final kilometre.

 

After the stage, coach Rudi Kemna said: “It was another tough stage today with the rain making it a nervous day on the bike. We spoke with Luka in the first parts of the stage as he wasn’t having a great day and decided that he would stop at the feedzone.

 

“Then over the climb the race split into two and we had Nikias, Chad and Albert there. The sprint was difficult to get in position in the wet and Nikias was alone in the final few kilometres. He didn’t quite find the right wheels and got caught behind a gap at 800m so he had to already make a big effort before the sprint. The guys showed a lot of character today and that was really good to see.”

 

Arndt added: “Today was hard, and then at the end I had some bad luck in the sprint. From 3km out I was on my own and then I found that I was on the wrong wheel after the last corner despite being in a good position.

 

“The guy in front let a gap go with around 600m to go and I had to close it, but the good thing about the stage is that even after a long, hard and cold stage I still had good legs. So it was nice to see that I am able to fight in the final of a stage like this.”

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