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“I am so happy right now because this is my dream. To reach the podium of a Grand Tour is very special for me. I want to thank my teammates, without them I wouldn’t be on the podium and I also want to dedicate this win to my fam...

Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo / BettiniPhoto

RAFAL MAJKA

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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12.09.2015 @ 21:27 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Rafal Majka proved his physical stamina and mental perseverance on the penultimate and decisive stage of Vuelta a España. On his birthday, Rafal Majka finished the stage as the first GC contender and now moves to 3rd place overall, just 12 seconds off Rodriguez in 2nd place.  

 

Crossing the line after a final burst of sheer willpower, Rafal Majka discovered that he had made it onto the podium with just one flat stage into Madrid to go.  

 

“I am so happy right now because this is my dream. To reach the podium of a Grand Tour is very special for me. I want to thank my teammates, without them I wouldn’t be on the podium and I also want to dedicate this win to my family and my wife. Movistar and Astana set a fast pace on the first climbs and everybody were on their limit so I decided to attack and follow Quintana on the last climb. It was Astana’s job to drop Dumoulin and it was the Tinkoff-Saxo’s and my job to reach the podium”, says an exhilarated Rafal Majka.

 

“It feels great because the team always told me it’s not over, even after the time trial. I did everything to make it to the podium today. I want to thank my teammates, my sports directors, my staff because without this team I would not have made it to the podium. I started to believe the podium was possible after I went with Aru and Quintana. When Quintana went, I had to go and we worked well together, and Jay (McCarthy) waited for me at the top and we went full gas.

 

“We were pushing and pushing and on the top I met up with Jay McCarthy, who pulled very hard for me and on the finish line, I was only 12 seconds away from second place in the GC. It’s a pity since it’s such a small margin but it doesn’t matter, I am just so happy with the podium right now. We did it on the final day! I was on my maximum pulse on the last kilometers after attacking with Quintana but I kept going as fast as I absolutely could only thinking about gaining as much time as possible. I had a setback on the time trial but as I said, the Vuelta would not be over after the time trial. I reached the podium and I’m extremely happy”, adds Rafal Majka, who finished 12th on the stage – first of the GC riders after having dropped his rivals together with Nairo Quintana on the final climb.

 

Stage 20 of Vuelta a España offered a spectacular race conclusion on the 175.8km route that featured four cat. 4 climbs followed by a rapid descent. Tristan Hoffman, Tinkoff-Saxo sports director, elaborates on the outcome.

 

“We are very, very happy. We came here to win a stage and finish in the GC top five only hoping for the podium. We got the stage win with Peter and now Rafal made his way onto the podium. The team didn’t stop believing for a single second. We were on the podium before the ITT, then there was a moment of disappointment after the time trial and today Rafal found the spirit and the legs to make the difference. The whole team fought and Jay McCarthy did a fantastic effort in the breakaway during the entire day and timed his effort to perfection so Rafal caught up with him exactly on the top of the final climb. Jay was then able to pull hard on the long gradual descent”, explains Hoffman before concluding:

 

“After the time trial, where we slipped to 4th overall, we said that we wanted to take risks to make it onto the podium. Today we took calculated risks, as it was up to Astana to get rid of Dumoulin, which they did, and ultimately Rafal was able to attack on the last climb at a time, where everybody was in the absolute red zone after a crazy stage and hard Vuelta. Rafal was so strong today, everybody was tired but his performance shows that his ability to recover is extraordinary. The doctor said that it only took five deep breaths for him to get his breathing under control after he crossed the line. He had the legs and he has raced in a very active fashion – he really deserves this result.

 

"Rafal was disappointed after the TT but he fought back. It’s fantastic to be part of this, it’s been stressful but we kept fighting.”

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