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"The race just began and it is quite early to make any predictions, but I hope to get a strong result here,” Trofimov says

Photo: Katusha / Tim de Waele








07.04.2014 @ 20:11 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Heading into the race, most expected Simon Spilak to be the leader of the Katusha team but after today's first stage, the tables have been turned at the Russian team. An excellent showing by Yury Trofimov has moved the Russian up in the internal hierarchy and he is now the team leader for the remainder of the race.


The 2014 WorldTour Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco stage race got right down to the business of difficult stages on Monday’s opener in Ordizia. At 153,4 km, the route featured 8-rated climbs, including the decisive final time up the Alto de Gaintza.


Yuri Trofimov made the front selection as the battle for the win unfolded on the climb, with the Katusha Team rider showing good legs with a fine fourth place finish.


“Before the race I did a good training camp in the mountains, so already at GP Miguel Indurain I felt that my shape was coming up," he said. "Today I felt well during the whole stage. It was a really hard race with a lot of tough climbs, especially the last one right before the finish.


"When Contador and Valverde attacked I tried to hold my pace and in the same time to remain in the leaders group. Finally, at the finish I was able to stay in front and to fight for a good position, taking 4th place.


"I think it was a good start. The race just began and it is quite early to make any predictions, but I hope to get a strong result here."


It was on the ascent of the Alto de Gaintza that Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) initially put their stamp on the race, with the duo riding away on the steep 13% section on the uphill with others unable to initially respond.


At the finish line it was Contador solo with 14 seconds over Valverde and the first leader’s jersey in this year’s Tour of the Basque Country.

Third on the stage was Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) at 34 seconds. Iurii Trofimov was just behind him at two seconds back, taking fourth place on both the stage and the classification.


Two more riders of Katusha Team, Simon Špilak and Sergei Chernetckii, finished in the second chasing group, 58 seconds later.


"I am pretty satisfied with today’s stage," sports director Jose Azevedo said. "Iurii showed a really good result, while Simon and Sergei were close to the leaders too.


"The race just started, so it is too early to say who has chances and who doesn’t for a good result. Iurii proved to be in a strong shape, to be a real leader of the team. So, of course, the team will support him in his fight for general classification. But I think Sergei and Simon also did not lose their chances. So we will see in the next days."


The six-day stage race continues through Saturday, with Tuesday’s 155,8 km stage beginning in Ordizia and finishing in Dantxarinea after four rated climbs along the way.  



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