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“If Clarkey had been satisfied with running second or third, he may well have been able to do that. He wanted to win, and he put it all out there. Clarkey opened up the sprint, and Ulissi came over the top of him, taking the other guy...

Photo: Sirotti

GP CAMAIORE

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JENS KEUKELEIRE

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MITCHELTON-SCOTT

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SIMON CLARKE

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06.03.2014 @ 18:52 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Simon Clarke continued his rise to the top of the hierarchy in hilly one-day races when he finished 4th in today's GP Camaiore. Having bridged across to the race-winning trio after the top of the final climb, the Australian went all out for the win which possibly cost him a podium spot.

 

Simon Clarke was part of the four man late race break that slipped clear on the final climb of the one-day GP Camaiore. Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) sprinted to victory ahead of Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r-La Mondiale). Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) rounded out the podium. Clarke, the last rider to bridge across to the race winning move, finished in fourth place.

 

“If Clarkey had been satisfied with running second or third, he may well have been able to do that,” said Sport Director Neil Stephens. “He wanted to win, and he put it all out there. Clarkey opened up the sprint, and Ulissi came over the top of him, taking the other guys right past him, too. That’s why he ran fourth. He went after the win. He wasn’t content to settle for another spot on the podium.”

 

It took nearly an hour for the breakaway to take shape. Johnny Hoogerland (Androni Giocattoli), Daniele Colli (Yellow Fluo), Riccardo Donato (MC Kvis-Trevigian) and Silvio Giorno (Area Zero) escaped up the road after 50 kilometres of racing. The quartet stretched out the gap to beyond the seven minute mark.

 

“It was an extremely fast start,” noted Stephens. “We covered the first 20 kilometre in 22 minutes. The boys said they were amazed at how many moves Adam Yates was in at the start of the race. He followed an unbelievable amount of attacks early on. He was so overly generous that I thought he was going to waste all his energy, but he was still there in the end. “

 

Giorno and Donato fell off the pace set by Hoogerland and Colli, who evaded the peloton until the final circuit lap. The bunch overtook the two leaders at the base of the final ascent. Counter-attacks ensued immediately. By the time they reached the summit, Ulissi, Arredondo and Montaguti had a slim advantage of the peloton.

 

“The three originally went away over the top of the climb,” Stephens explained. “After the climb, there’s a small little descent before one last little pick-up, and that’s where Clarkey bridged across to the leaders. He was the last rider to get into that move.”

 

“The race radio actually never called it in – that Clarkey had made it across,” added Stephens. “When we heard that he was fourth, we thought he won the sprint or picked up the remnants of the break. We were pleasantly surprised to learn he was in the move.”

 

The peloton crossed the finish line a mere two seconds behind the leaders. Jens Keukeleire contested the sprint, finishing third in the bunch to slot into seventh overall.

 

“Jens is here to prepare for the Classics and the other races coming up,” said Stephens. “The finish today didn’t suit him as much as our designated leaders – Clarkey and Santaromita. It’s a sign of his great form that he was able to finish at the front at a race like this.”

 

Despite Clarke’s personal disappointment over his result, Stephens is full of praise for his team of eight. The performances on display by the team at Camaiore and Lugano hint at better things to come in bigger future targets.

 

“I think the race was a good one for us,” said Stephens. “We were represented in the early attacks and the winning move. The team spirit is good – which it usually is. The tactics of the race came together today. Things are looking good for us as we build up to the major part of the season: Tirreno-Adriatico, Paris-Nice and the Classics.”  

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