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“We had faith in Marco at the end because we knew he can win out of the front group. He got caught on the wrong side, for the wind. If it's wasn't for that, I think he could have won. But he was strong!"

BOB JUNGELS

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ETOILE DE BESSÈGES

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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04.02.2015 @ 23:39 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The 154-kilometer opening stage of the five-day Etoile de Bessèges ended with a 13-man group contesting the finish. Marco Coledan, part of this late escape, showed his sprinting prowess with a strong third place, as a large 40-strong group with Bob Jungels, Giacomo Nizzolo and Stijn Devolder arrived 17 seconds later.

 

Kris Boeckmans (Lotto-Soudal) won the stage, raced under harsh conditions with near freezing temperatures and brisk winds that left only 53 riders in contention by the finish.

 

The cold crosswinds created havoc out on the road, but Trek Factory Racing was present in each split.

 

“Right from the start 25 guys went in the break with Stijn, Marco and Giacomo. After 90 kilometers the peloton exploded behind and another group with Bob joined the front group.  Riccardo [Zoidl] had a small mechanical problem in the climb or I think he would have been there, too,” explained Trek Factory Racing director Alain Gallopin.

 

“In the wind it is never easy,” he continued, “and with this kind of race it was difficult to control as there was a lot of attacks everywhere.  Before Bob’s group joined, the front group had already split, and 13 riders with Marco went up the road. This group never came back.”

 

Marco Coledan claimed the final podium step, a good showing for a hard day raced under extreme elements, but Gallopin believed he could have done more with better placing in the final sprint:

 

“We had faith in Marco at the end because we knew he can win out of the front group. He got caught on the wrong side, for the wind. If it's wasn't for that, I think he could have won. But he was strong!  In the end, it was not perfect but it’s always good to have someone on the podium.”

 

As the 13 leaders pulled away, behind more than 20 riders, including Bob Jungels, latched onto the original breakaway and formed a large 40-man chase.

 

 

Although they would not catch the riders ahead, they did close the gap to 17 seconds by the finish. Bob Jungels reported what happened:

 

“It was between 3 - 5 degrees [Celsius] the whole day and very windy. At around 95 kilometers we took the same road again where everything split the first time in the crosswind, and I managed to cross to the first group with around 20 riders or so. When we joined them there was already the group with Marco away. We kept pulling behind to keep the damage as small as possible. Marco did third, that’s a good result, and we are in good position for the next days.”

 

After today Trek Factory Racing will look to Bob Jungels to lead the team in the GC. He sits in good position for the overall heading into the next days, with a critical 12-kilometer time trial scheduled for the final day of racing.

 

Jungels said: “I felt pretty good for the first race of the season. I did some really good work this winter and I felt today that it paid off. I am confident, and I hope to stay safe the next days and then do something in the time trial on the last day to have a nice result here.”

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