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“Honestly it’s my first time that I stay in the front on such a long climb and I don’t know if I made a mistake to not give all my power with two kilometers to go."

Photo: Sirotti






30.03.2015 @ 02:06 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Fabio Felline continued his hot streak into the final stage three at the Critérium International surprising many, including himself, by staying with the leaders on the 14-kilometer Col de L'Ospedale that ended the 189.5-kilometer race.


He was the top finisher for the team in fifth place, an effort that cemented him the green points jersey and the third podium step in the overall classification.


Yesterday, he earned an early birthday gift taking the stage two win, and today he added more reason to celebrate on the official day of his 25th year.


“Honestly it’s my first time that I stay in the front on such a long climb,” Felline said,“and I don’t know if I made a mistake to not give all my power with two kilometers to go. There was an attack and I did not know if I should follow; it was my first time in this situation and I did not know how I would respond, so I played it conservative instead..


“It’s simple afterwards to say I should have played it differently, but if I am honest with myself, and I did this climb over again, I think I would not do anything differently.


“The team for the whole day stayed together and worked really well. I have had two really good days here – yeah I am very happy.”


Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale) won the stage and overall after he attacked over seven kilometers from the end. It was early an early move, but with two teammates waiting in the wings he had little to lose. He gained up to 40 seconds and in the end held off the pursuers by 15 seconds.


The chasing group contained Julián Arredondo, who marked numerous attacks earlier, plus Fränk Schleck and Fabio Felline, both who battled back after the group exploded then swelled again as many riders paced back.


Fränk Schleck would be the first to lose contact after riding with the chase group for most of the 14 kilometers, but the Critérium International is his first race back after his injury, and he is still returning to top form.


Felline and Arredondo continued to ride second and third wheel in the chase group in pursuit of Peraud. The group finally shattered for good with two kilometers to go under a blistering attack, leaving Felline and Arredondo chasing four men.


Felline paced well over the final 2000 meters and caught back all but two of the four to finish in 5th place at 25 seconds. Arredondo arrived five seconds later for 8th place.


“It wasn’t racing [as hard] like I thought it would; everyone waited until the last climb,”explained director Kim Andersen. “The plan was for Arredondo to follow Thibaut Pinot [], and he followed him 2 or 3 times, but the last time he couldn’t.


“In the end Felline was stronger than we thought, and if he could have communicated that maybe he could have won the race. But with no radios and in the finale you cannot go up and talk…we could have used Arredondo to pull, he was so close, and it could have been quite good.


“But I am happy, one and two yesterday, third on the podium, that’s not too bad. It was a good job from the whole team these past two days.”



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