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”On Friday I had a bad day. At the Giro I worked at my maximum and perhaps that’s I didn’t hve the best legs. I had them in the time trial. The climb was very difficult. I am happy with what I showed."

Photo: ANSA - PERI / DI MEO / ZENNARO

TOUR DE SLOVENIE

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
19.06.2016 @ 01:12 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) bounced back from yesterday’s disappointment by winning the thrilling time trial at the Tour de Slovenie. On the hilly course, he was just four seconds faster than race leader Rein Taaramae (Katusha) while Omar Fraile (Dimension Data) was a distant third at 52 seconds. Taaramae extended his lead over Jack Haig (Orica-GreenEDGE) to 1.42.

 

We have gathered a few reactions.

 

Victorious Diego Ulissi: Yesterday was just a bad day

It was an Impressive victory of Diego Ulissi in the demanding time trial in the 3rd day of the Tour of Slovenia. Lampre-Merida’s rider was 4" betterTaaramae.

 

Diego Ulissi could do well in the first part of the course pedaling on the Merida Warp TT and he tackled the climb in a perfect way thanks to the planned change of the bike.

 

The captain of Lampre-Merida stopped the clock on 28'23". The best blue-fucsia-green rider in the general classification is still Luka Pibernik, who's 16th at 4'39" (in the time trial he was 37th at 2'37").

 

This is the 3rd seasonal victory for Ulissi, the 9th for Lampre-Merida in the 2016 season.

 

”On Friday I had a bad day. At the Giro I worked at my maximum and perhaps that’s I didn’t hve the best legs. I had them in the time trial. The climb was very difficult. I am happy with what I showed,” said Ulissi.

 

Rein Taaramae: Maybe I was already too satisfied to go for the stage win

Team Katusha’s Rein Taaramäe retained the yellow jersey in the Tour of Slovenia by widening his lead after a solid second place finish in Saturday’s 16,8km individual time trial.

 

“I had good spirit from the beginning. I thought ‘today is my race’ and I gave everything. I arrived at the climb after ten km and then I saw Orica rider Jack Haig, my nearest competitor, some 25 seconds in front of me. I knew where to go. The fact that I saw him convinced me that I was doing a very good TT. I also felt that I had good legs and I enjoyed the TT more and more. I caught Haig, but later on also the number three guy and I even almost caught teammate Pavel Kochetkov in fourth place. In the end I missed 4 seconds for the stage win, but I was already so happy that I maybe missed that little extra to push even more. Claudio Cozzi tried to motivate me to beat Diego Ulissi, but it was already good enough,” said a joyous Rein Taaramäe.

 

"It's easier to breathe now because the gap is bigger. Before the start I was not nervous because I'm experienced. I said to myself that I needed to find a rhythm and focus on myself. I was not scared because there was a climb. I was glad that it was such a time trial. I am good in time trials and mountain time trials. At the Tour, I've been in the top ten a few times. I knew I felt good.”

 

ReinTaaramäe finished just four seconds behind stage winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), with Dimension Data’s Omar Fraile taking third at +.52. Taaramäe’s strong performance widened his lead to +1.42 over Jack Haig of Orica-GreenEdge and +2.38 to Jan Bárta of Bora-Argon who moved into third overall. It’s a commanding lead going into the final stage on Sunday.

 

“The overall win is not there yet. Tomorrow’s last stage is not so difficult and I have a super Katusha team surrounding me, but the weather could be tricky. I remain confident,” concluded Taaramäe.

 

Excellent Omar Fraile bounces back with third place in Slovenian time trial

Omar Fraile took the final podium placing of the stage. Fraile came flying up the mountain, moving into 2nd place behind Ulissi and just before all the main GC contenders got underway. Today's time trial was always a target for the Basque Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka rider and it was great to see Fraile putting in such a strong performance after cramping badly during yesterday’s stage. The only other rider to make any difference at the top of the leaderboard was the yellow jersey, Taaramae, who placed himself between Ulissi and Fraile to finalise the stage podium.

 

Omar Fraile said:

 

“I am very happy after the day that I had yesterday. I knew I was in good shape but I just had a bad day yesterday. Today I wanted to do well and we had a plan. I changed my bike after the first 10km and then I found I was able to climb really well to the finish. In the end I finished in 3rd position, I am happy with this result and it gives me some good motivation.”

 

Impressive Jack Haig shines in Slovenian time trial

Jack Haig gave everything on the stage three individual time trial at the Tour of Slovenia today, finishing in fifth place on the stage for Orica-GreenEDGE and retaining second on the general classification.

 

Points jersey leader Haig was the second to last rider down the ramp onto the difficult 16.8kilometre course that finished with a seven kilometre climb which topped out at over 16% in places.The 22-year old rode himself into the ground, posting a time of 29minutes 37 seconds.

 

Unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough to beat race leader Rein Tarramae (Katusha) who finished one minute ahead of Haig to maintain the top spot overall going into tomorrow’s final stage.

 

Sport director Matt Wilson praised the ride from Haig and reiterated just how quickly the young Australian is rising to the challenges of stage racing.

 

“It was a fantastic ride again from Jack (Haig) today,” said Wilson. “It was a very tough course and Jack really gave it everything.

 

”Jack was a little disappointed at the finish, but there is no reason to be. He finished top five again and we are still in second overall with one more stage to go. That’s a great place to be for the team and for Jack.”

 

“Our objective here was to win a stage, which we did on the first day,” continued Wilson. “The guy’s have surpassed themselves every day so far and I am very proud of how they have performed.

 

“Tomorrow is a an undulating stage in the beginning and then flat until the finish, we won the final stage in 2013 and Jens Keukeleire was third that day. So tomorrow we will be looking to protect Jack and try to position Jens for the sprint.”

 

Jan Barta climbs excellently to move onto the podium in Slovenia

Bora-Argon 18 decided not to go with any compromise and instead change bikes after the first flat part from the TT bike to the normal light Gallium road bike for the uphill section.

 

Jan Bárta showed good legs today and also an improvement of his shape. He was the team’s best rider in 6th place and moved into third overall. Also José Mendes delived a strong performance, crossing the line just 11 seconds slower than Barta. He moved up the GC into 7th position.

 

“I am happy with the performance today. Our goal was a podium, but I have to admit that the climb in the end was too hard for Jan. I think if it had been a flat TT he would have made the podium today, but we cannot choose the course so we have to settle with his 6th place,” said André Schulze, sports director.

 

Gianni Moscon underlines his potential with top 10 in Slovenian time trial

Gianni Moscon produced another fine performance at the Tour of Slovenia to secure a top-10 finish in the stage three time trial.

 

The Italian finished ninth in a time of 29 minutes and 45 seconds on the brutal 17km course, which contained a vicious 7km climb in the closing stages.

 

Taaramae retained the yellow jersey, while Moscon moved up from 14th to ninth overall, now just over three minutes back on the Estonian.

 

Alex Peters finished an impressive 15th, one minute and 48 seconds down on Ulissi, with Xabi Zandio the next best placed Team Sky rider in 31st. Lars Petter Nordhaug, Elia Viviani, Andy Fenn and Benat Intxausti all finished safely ahead of the final sprinter-friendly stage.

 

Local hero defends top 5 in Slovenian time trial

Local hero Jure Golcer (Adria Mobil) finished 18th and is 5th overall.

 

"The challenge was the steepest part. Maybe I got a little too carried away by the spectators and I had to slow down. The bike change went smoothly. It took me about 15 seconds and then I could ride on. I had friends at the line and they gave me additional wings. The TT was unusual but spectacular. On the course there were a lot of spectators, which gives you extra energy,” he told Siol.net.

 

"I am satisfied. I did not expect to be so good. I'm pretty happy with today's performance. In the end I was a bit tired because it was a stressful TT.”

 

Tinkoff leader crashes of of Tour de Slovenie time trial

On the day, many riders opted for road bikes, as opposed to their aero time trial bikes, in order to take on the climb, however looking to capitalise on the varying terrain, some of the Tinkoff riders made a bike switch before the start of the ascent to the finish, as Sport Director, Tristan Hoffman, explained.

 

“The route was 16km - 10km flat then 6km uphill. The course wasn't too technical, just a few corners, but nothing too bad. Then the climb we did a bike change for those two guys as there were some real steep parts.”

 

With some big rides already in the legs from earlier in the race, the efforts were taking their toll on the team, and made pushing on this stage difficult, as Hoffman explained.

 

“The plan for the time trial was for Pavel Brutt and Michael Gogl to go full gas. Unfortunately Gogl crashed and then Brutt missed the climbing legs.”

 

The Austrian rider, Michael Gogl, had finished yesterday’s stage as the first Tinkoff rider to cross the line, and so was looking forward to testing his form on today’s stage, however it wasn’t to be, as Hoffman explained.

 

“Gogl had a crash and stopped. Nothing broken but he hurt himself a bit so it's best to recover. He's disappointed obviously with the Nationals coming up and he was going well.”

 

With one day left to race, and the GC outcome all but decided, tomorrow’s stage would likely be one for the fast men going for a stage win. The 179.8km stage from Rogaška Slatina to Novo Mesto features three third category climbs, however a finishing circuit ridden three times will give teams the chance to pull together before the flat finish. The race has dealt a few surprises over the past few days however, so the sprint finish is far from certain, as Hoffman explained.

 

“Tomorrow's stage should be a bunch sprint - although you never know. We will see how things are for Kolar and Baška.”

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