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“For sure, I’m happy for today and my result. Right now I’m simply very, very tired. It was an incredibly hard stage and I think that I did great. I lost 48 seconds to Aru and a few to Rodriguez but still I gained time on...

Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo / BettiniPhoto




02.09.2015 @ 23:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Rafal Majka finished 6th on the killer stage 11 of Vuelta a España that was dubbed “the hardest ever” prior to its start. The day lived up to the expectations with a battle of attrition spread over 4,950 altitude meters. Spurred on by a dedicated effort from teammate Pawel Poljanski, Rafal Majka showed his improving shape and moved to 4th in the general classification.


Drained from energy after crossing the line atop Cortals d’Encamp, Rafal Majka did not show explicit satisfaction but underlined to the TV-cameras that he indeed felt satisfied with the outcome of the day.


“For sure, I’m happy for today and my result. Right now I’m simply very, very tired. It was an incredibly hard stage and I think that I did great. I lost 48 seconds to Aru and a few to Rodriguez but still I gained time on other riders such as Dumoulin, Valverde and Quintana and I’m up in the GC to 4th place. This is very good for me and for my teammates. They did a  great in the finale. I’m motivated for the next stages, there’s no doubt about that. It was no easy stage and we will have other very hard days. The Vuelta is definitely not finished yet and we have to keep trying to do the absolute best”, says Rafal Majka, who sits 4th, 1’28” down on race leader Fabio Aru, whose teammate Mikel Landa took the stage win from the breakaway.


Considered by many as the mother of all Vuelta stages, Wednesday’s 138km from Andorra la Vella to Cortals d’Encamp presented no less than 4,950 meters of altitude gain. For Tinkoff-Saxo’s sports director, Tristan Hoffman, it lived fully up to the expectations set prior to the stage.


“The boys did a great effort out there and Rafal was strong. He conserved his energy wisely, as we knew that this would be critical today with so many altitude meters on the stage. No doubt that this was a brutal stage and it provided a spectacular race. We’re very happy to see Rafal move to 4th place, however there are several strong riders and favorites just behind him in the GC, so we have to fight very hard. But that is why we are here. On a bad note, Paulinho unfortunately had to leave the race, as he was hit by a motorbike and suffered a deep wound on his leg that required 17 stitches. He was on the attack, when it happened to execute our plan and he has been an important part of the team throughout the race. He will return home to recover, and our remaining seven riders will have to keep fighting”, comments Tristan Hoffman before adding about the team effort:


“Pawel Poljanski did a fantastic job the whole day, and so did Jay McCarthy, who stayed with Rafal in the main group for a long time. Poljanski was really determined in the breakaway and it surely required a big effort to stay ahead of the favorite’s group until the final climb, where he pulled for Rafal at a critical moment. Rafal finished it all off by showing that he is improving day by day and in the end he took time on some very big favorites”.


Unfortunately, a good sporting result became intertwined with another accident that forced Sergio Paulinho to withdraw from the race. Just before the start of the ascent, Paulinho took a right turn at fast pace, rapidly approaching a TV motorbike that was in front of him, in the middle of the road, in breach of safety regulations. Just as Paulinho was reaching the motorbike, its driver did not make any apparent move to avoid the collision, continued on its course and caused Paulinho to suffer a deep cut on his leg upon impact.


According to team doctor Peter Lagrou, Sergio Paulinho suffered from a serious cut on his left leg under the knee. Following the accident with the motorcycle he was brought to the hospital Nostra Senyora de Meritxell at ER. The cut was so deep that the tibia was visible, with a hematoma and several bleeding veins and an arteriole (small artery). X-Rays were made and revealed no fractures or cortical alterations. After cleaning and disinfection, stitches were applied on the bleeding veins and arteriole, in addition to subcutaneous and cutaneous to stop the bleeding and close the cut. Healing will take at least 10 days, if there are no complications, before Paulinho can continue revalidation.



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