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"It’s very hard to do that - come with one plan in mind and then have to completely refocus on another plan. For future races we realize we need to have a B plan in place and we will do that," Ekimov says

Photo: Sirotti

GIRO D'ITALIA

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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LUCA PAOLINI

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02.06.2014 @ 11:22 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Going into the Giro d'Italia, Katusha was fully devoted to Joaquim Rodriguez but the Spaniard crashed out already in stage 6. The team desperately tried to win a stage in the second half but admits that they need a plan B for their next grand tour.

 

The 2014 Giro d’Italia came to a conclusion on Sunday in the streets of Trieste. The mostly ceremonial stage at 172 km included 8 local laps of 7 km each, and finally a mass sprint to end the 97th edition of the race. Team Katusha’s Luca Paolini was in the heart of the action, taking seventh place behind winner Luka Mezgec.

 

“I wanted to do the sprint for the team," he said. "I can never beat guys like Bouhanni and Mezgec but for sure you won’t win if you don’t try. I felt it was my duty. We worked together as a team for months for this race. I only finished in 7th, but it was symbolic of how at Katusha we fight until the end.”

 

It all came down to a mass sprint with Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano) earning the honors on stage 21.  Taking second and third were Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) and Tyler Farrar of Garmin Sharp. 

 

After more than 88 hours of racing, the celebration for Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar) began as the 24-year old rider claimed his first Grand Tour victory. Joining him on the final podium was fellow countryman Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) at 2.58 and Italian Fabio Aru of Astana at 4:04.

 

Katusha General Manager Viacheslav Ekimov assessed the team results and lessons learned in this year’s Giro, saying:

 

“We were sad to have lost “Purito” at the beginning of the race but it was important to move past that right away. We saw the team was still active for the rest of the Giro and it’s very hard to do that – come with one plan in mind and then have to completely refocus on another plan. For future races we realize we need to have a B plan in place and we will do that.” 

 

Team director José Azevedo added:

 

“I saw some very good things here. We arrived with nine riders in very good condition with the mentality to help Purito. They were all so well prepared and very professional about their focus.

 

"Once we had to change our goals, the remaining riders were ready and willing to adapt to our new strategy of looking for stage wins. The guys went in so many breakaways, probably 80 percent of them, but we were just missing the victory we desired. But the guys brought the fighting spirit for sure and we’re proud of that.”

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