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"The path to glory: I’ve been through difficult periods in my career. I was 6th in the U23 standings in Italy, but no one wanted to sign me. I called Team Colombia, who said they’d call me back, but never did," Ar...

Photo: Sirotti






29.05.2014 @ 20:18 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Julian Arredondo crowned an aggressive performance in this year's Giro d'Italia by taking a big stage win in today's mountain stage. The Colombian was pleased to have put years of struggles behind him after a difficult period when hobody wanted him on their teams.


It was a formidable ride from Trek Factory Racing’s Colombian climber as he attacked to create the day’s principal breakaway on the first ascent of Passo San Pellegrino. He then went on to win the category one mountain points at the top, followed by claiming full points on the successive category two climb, before stamping his name as the day’s champion at the top of the summit finish – it was an awe-inspiring victory.


“I have to give a big thanks to my director and coach Josu [Larrazabal]," he said. "I wanted to attack at the bottom of the last climb but he told me from the team car, ‘no, no no! take it easy, not yet!’  Then with four kilometer to go he said, ‘Julian now!’  I won this stage to a great degree from his advice.


“My main goal was a stage win in the Giro d’Italia. I tried in breakaways in the first week: in one of them, I was caught 2 km from the finish. Today, I had the Maglia Azzurra  so I joined the breakaway. I went over the first two categorised climbs in first place, and I didn’t imagine for a moment that today could be my day. My coach, Josu Larrazabal, believed in me."


Trek Factory Racing has been knocking on victory’s door at this year’s Giro, finishing second on four occasions; finally the elusive win arrived as the three week tour entered its final days.


“It was a very strong break with good riders," Laraazabal said. "Julian was calm at the end. We asked him to wait until last 4k and then when he goes, go full gas. We were four times so close so he deserved the win, the team deserved the win - this win is the win of the team. It is a really nice way to finish the Giro in the last week.”


Julian Arredondo won all three mountain climbs of the 171-kilometer race and put a serious hold on the mountains competition with only two more climbing stages remaining.


“We knew that if Julian could be in the break to fight for the blue jersey that he would also stand a chance at a stage win," Larrazabal said. "So that was the goal, and the team did a great job to help Julian get in the break. The valley was long before San Pellegrino and the others like Eugenio [Alafaci], Boy [van Poppel], and Fumy [Beppu] did a great job to keep him in good position so he could jump on the climb. It was teamwork to get him in the break.”


Behind the breakaway the maglia rosa group was fighting a different - albeit just as captivating - battle.  Robert Kiserlvoski once again showed his strong proficiency in the mountains and battled to finish 19th on the stage, just over 30 seconds behind race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar). He continues to hold on to 10th overall. While most of the GC positions remained the same, Cadel Evans lost his grip on third overall and slipped to 9th.


Julian Arredondo won the combativity prize for the stage, and also leads the combativity competition. With a firm hold on the blue jersey after today - an 86-point lead over second placed Dario Cataldo of Team Sky - he is posed to take home the mountains classification in two day’s time. Tomorrow’s mountain time trial will offer points at the finish, and the successive stage 20 will be his final test before he can lay claim to the prestigious maglia azzurra.


To top off a stellar team effort, and a well-deserved team victory, Trek Factory Racing claimed first place in the team classification for today’s stage.


“I felt good today," Arredondo added. "I thought it could be my day. After all the difficult moments in this race - like two days ago over the Stelvio when Josu had to put me in the car to warm me up – and being in Italy away from home the last six years, this stage has repaid all my hard work.


"Today is the beginning, I hope, of great things for me. I want to dedicate this win to Josu, and to my team who stayed around me at all the difficult moments. We are very much a family.


“I have had difficult times during this Giro. I have even thought of abandoning. Two days ago, on the Stelvio, I thought I’d finish last. Josu put me in the car, warmed me up, and gave me the courage to restart.
"The path to glory: I’ve been through difficult periods in my career. I was 6th in the U23 standings in Italy, but no one wanted to sign me. I called Team Colombia, who said they’d call me back, but never did.


"Then Andrea Tonti called me and said,  “Trust me, come and ride for my team.” Little by little, the path has led me to moments of glory. After years of struggle and hard work, I’m finally with a team that provides me calm and security. I’ve shown that I can perform and I have put my trust in the right people.”



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