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“It was a beautiful stage, and Alex and the whole team deserve congratulations for the way they raced."



01.05.2015 @ 21:50 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Alex Cano has had a gradual development from his first races in this debut season with Team Colombia-Coldeportes: his crash in the first stage of the Vuelta a Andalucia, in late February, had affected his preparation for Tirreno-Adriatico and the Volta a Catalunya, and then a cystitis forced him to retire in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, also preventing him to train properly before the Tour of Turkey. But things went better and better in Turkey, where he finished 5th in stage 6 (Denizli-Selcuk, 186 km), which indicates that Cano is rediscovering his best form and the Escarabajos have every reason to smile.


The second and last uphill finish of the race was won by Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural), who caught Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) after chasing for 1500 meters and then left him behind with just a couple of meters to go of the stage. Third place went to another Colombian, Heiner Parra (Caja Rural), who came 11 seconds after the winner, while Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) finished just ahead of Cano. Sixth in this stage was Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida), who is now the new leader of the overall classification, ahead of Davide Rebelin (CCC-Sprandi), with Alex Cano in 5th position, just 13 seconds behind the Croatian rider.


“We started the day with two goals: to get a good result with Alex Cano and keep the red jersey on Juan Pablo Valencia’s shoulders. Thanks to a strong ride from the team we managed to reach our targets”, said Sports Director Oscar Pellicioli. After a fast start, with a 52 km/h average speed, four riders –Roy Jans (Wanty-Gobert), Jarl Salomein (Topsport-Vlaanderen), Malcolm Rudolph (Drapac) and Ahmet Akdilek (Torku) – were able to escape from the peloton, but were eventually caught on the first categorized climb, with around 20 km before the finish.


The Escarabajos came at the front with Edwin Avila launching Juan Pablo Valencia. The Colombian was second at the top of the climb, taking two more points on the mountain classification: with two days (and only two categorized climbs) remaining,Valencia has a 5-point advantage over his closest rival, Songezo Jim (MTN-Qhubeka).


As expected, everything played on the last ascent, a 6-km one to Selcuk. The strongest riders stayed together until 3,5 km from the end, when the attack of Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) – to which Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo) replied – made the selection in the group, Davide Rebellin, the leader of the GC at that point being among the ones left behind. Supported byCarlos Julian Quintero and Edward Diaz, Alex Cano always stayed in the first group behind the leaders, eventually reduced to just three riders in the final metres, dropping even the new overall leader in the last push.


“It was a beautiful stage, and Alex and the whole team deserve congratulations for the way they raced”, Sports Director Pellicioli had to say. “After yesterday’s stage I was a bit upset because I saw the team was not very cohesive. Today we were expecting a response and we got it. Tomorrow we will have a tricky stage and stay on guard so that we’ll be again among the protagonists.”


"It was a good day for the the mountains," Valencia said. "I was 2nd in the first GPM. I thought I was going to win, but I was passed on the line. Tomorrow is the last day in the mountains, so I hope to want to hold off my rivals in the two mountain prize, with God’s help, and take this title home. 


"Miguel [Ángel López] is a very young rider, having his first experiences of racing in Europe. He’s very, very good, a good climber, and Colombian cycling is doing very well."


Tomorrow, Saturday, stage 7 (Selcuk – Izmir, 165 km) will provide the last opportunity for changes in the overall ranking: a first category climb, which comes just 20 km from the end, could make a selection, but the last few kilometers, that include a descent and flat roads, can help the ones left behind reduce the gap “Besides Cano and Quintero, also Avila was impressive this week. Maybe he’ll get the opportunity to play his chances”, Pellicioli concluded.



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