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"My chain was not going on the 11 [cog] and I lost some speed and I needed that extra gear at the end.”

Photo: Trek Factory Racing




15.05.2015 @ 03:06 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The rain moved into the golden state as the 154-kilometer stage five at the Amgen Tour of California was a wet affair from start to end. 


A few added bumps to the parcours and a five-man escape group did little to shake up a projected sprint finish, and it was a bunched and soggy peloton that roared into Santa Clarita.


Yesterday, Jasper Stuyven was granted the green light to contest the uphill sprint, but today Danny van Poppel - the usual go-to fastman for Trek Factory Racing here – had his usual job back.


But over the line the lightening fast Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick Step) snatched his third win this week, and proved yet again why he is one of the world’s quickest sprinters.


Danny van Poppel crossed the line in 5th place, a sprint that was set-up flawlessly by the team, but did not play out flawlessly for him.


“It was really dangerous with the rain,” explained van Poppel about the tricky wet finale.“The last few sprints have gone really well with the team, better and better each time. They know their job and Stijn and Markel put us in the front and held us there, and then Jasper again did a great lead-out in the last kilometer.  I had Cavendish’s wheel, it was perfect, but I was fighting Sagan for it. I let Sagan have the wheel, then with 300m to go the lead out was not going fast enough when we started the sprint, then they came from behind and we went again. My chain was not going on the 11 [cog] and I lost some speed and I needed that extra gear at the end.”


Sport director Alain Gallopin added,“Today our goal was to make the sprint for Danny, but since the beginning the top three are always the same, just a different order. Sprinting against Cavendish, Sagan and Wippert is not easy.


“Our other goal was to keep our three guys for the GC safe, especially with this rain day as it’s always dangerous in the finale. At the end, they were all together in the front. There was a crash behind but nobody from us. They are in a good position for tomorrow.”


Due to a foot of snow, and cold temperatures forecasted for Big Bear Lake the time trial scheduled for tomorrow’s stage six was relocated to lower elevations and slashed from a 24-kilometer race against the clock to a short and fast 10.6-kilometer sprint.  The shorter event will diminish the time differences and add weight to Saturday’s queen stage that finishes up Mt. Baldy.


When asked about the changed in the parcours for stage six, Gallopin was not excited:


“With a guy like Riccardo Zoidl we would have preferred a longer TT to make some differences there. We had hoped to do something strong tomorrow in the TT, and a flat and shorter course is not good for us. No, it is not good news…but he is also a good climber and we will see on Mt. Baldy.”


Despite a change in the time trial’s parcours that may alter the game plan for Trek Factory Racing, Gallopin heaped praise on the Amgen Tour of California organization for its preemptive decision:  


“In the end it’s a really good thing. The Tour of California, together with the other American race organizations, is really exemplary in making plan A, B and C. Many more races should follow their lead; this is the way to do it. I am sure it is a logistical nightmare for them, but it was the best thing to do.” 



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