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"This afternoon I did not expect to win, not with Bob [Jungels] and a lot of other TT specialists here, but I know that I am feeling good - today was the 9th time this year that I finish in the top 10,"

Photo: Trek Factory Racing

BOB JUNGELS

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CRITÉRIUM INTERNATIONAL

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FABIO FELLINE

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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28.03.2015 @ 18:57 Posted by Andy Pedersen

The Critérium International second stage was contested a few hours after the first Saturday, but it did little to slow down Fabio Felline and Bob Jungels who blazed around the short 7-kilometer flat course to finish within one second of each other and claim the top two spots of the leaderboard.

 

Fabio Felline has shown fantastic form this season, just missing out on victory at La Drôme Classic with a second place finish March 1. This is his first win with Trek Factory Racing and his first professional victory since 2013 and comes one day ahead of his 25th birthday – no better early present for the amiable Italian. 

 

“This afternoon I did not expect to win, not with Bob [Jungels] and a lot of other TT specialists here, but I know that I am feeling good – today was the 9th time this year that I finish in the top 10," said an elated and surprised Felline. "So I wanted to make a good result. But now I am here, I have won, and I am super happy!

 

"To be honest, it was the stage this morning where I was targeting the victory, not this afternoon! But then the breakaway arrived at the finish, and in the end I did not make a good sprint. This makes up for that, but I have to say I am a little surprised."

 

Bob Jungels was the first of the two Trek Factory Racing teammates to assume the hot seat when he set a new best time of 9:12 and then had a nervous wait with some 30 riders still to arrive.

 

But when teammate Fabio Felline flew across the line and stopped the clock at 9:11 to knock him into second place, a disappointed Jungels could only smile. Finishing so close to the win is always a hard pill to swallow, but today it was made a little easier with a teammate doing the besting.

 

“Finishing one and two is always great, this is fantastic for the team,” said Jungels. “It’s always a bit of a strange time trial here - I was five seconds faster than last year. I gave it all of course and I am disappointed to not win, but when it’s a teammate that is beating you, then it’s not so bad. Of course, I came into today really wanting to win, but on the other hand I am very happy for Fabio. If you have to finish second, then it’s best that you finish second to a teammate.”

 

With his victory Fabio Felline moved into third place overall (+27”) and Bob Jungels into fourth (+28”). 

 

Ben King continues to lead the race after foiling the sprinters in the morning’s first stage when the two-man breakaway he was a part of held off the peloton by 39 seconds and he snagged the win.

 

Julián Arredondo sprinted to 8th and Felline 10th in the uphill finish for the 92.5-kiometer stage one.

 

“It was a pretty nervous race like every year,” explained Jungels. “These two guys went away straight from the start and I think everyone was a bit surprised when we heard they had four minutes advantage. We started chasing – Kristof [Vandewalle] did a lot of work – and then FDJ chased, but with the wind in the back there was no way to close it.”

 

Trek Factory Racing director Kim Andersen agreed the morning stage was a little unusual with two riders surviving to the end, but it should not affect the outcome of the race ahead of the mountain climbs tomorrow.

 

"This morning the tactic was not to lose time. The two riders were super strong, they did a really, really good eh? But in the end they only had 40 seconds so that is okay for tomorrow; they are not pure climbers," Andersen said.

 

“We also took some time back in the chrono. I knew that Bob would do well, but I think that the big surprise was Fabio. He had an advantage in that he started behind Bob and I had time splits to give him every kilometer. In the end I could see that he could beat Bob’s time so I could really push him. It was a great result for us, and now we look to continue that tomorrow.”

 

Tomorrow the two-day Critérium International concludes with a tough mountain stage and a long summit finish up Col de L'Ospedale (14kms). Trek Factory Racing will have a few cards to play with Julián Arredondo, Fränk Schleck and Bob Jungels all ready to pull out their best climbing legs.   

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