It was a long day in the mountains at 218 km on stage 4 in Tirreno – Adriatico. Team Katusha was part of all the action on the two laps of the steep Crispiero, each time animating the race and putting riders in strong positions to race for the win. In the end team leader Joaquim Rodriguez took third place behind winner Wout Poels. Teammate Giampaolo Caruso was 7th.
“The team tactics were perfect. On the first climb of Crispiero, Vicioso and later Moreno attacked just as we had planned. We wanted to make the race hard. The second ascent, six km from the finish, Losada was present and Caruso attacked. I just had to keep an eye on Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador.
"It’s a pity that Poels managed to get away, but it was a strong move from him. Already before the stage I saw him as a potential winner of today. He impressed me already in the past in País Vasco and his explosiveness is his strong point. Without Poels we could have won as we really have the team here to do that, so it is a pity but I am not unhappy after the unlucky year I had in 2014. It is the first time in a long time that I feel like a rider again. This climb of Crispiero was also a good test for us as we near the classics. We did not win, but we leave the stage with a good feeling,” said team leader Joaquim Rodriguez to the Katusha website.
The stage from Indicatore (Arezzo) to Castelraimondo included twice over the Crispiero. First Angel Vicioso tried to go and later it was Daniel Moreno who joined a group off the front on the first descent. On the second ascent it was Caruso’s turn, attacking and opening up a gap over the summit. But eventual stage winner Wout Poels (Sky) rocketed past Caruso and never looked back, taking the victory by 14-seconds to Rigoberto Uran (Etixx – Quick Step) and Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez.
Poels also earned the leader’s jersey by 17-seconds to Urán and 26-seconds to Steven Cummings of MTN-Qhubeka. Joaquim Rodriguez is now 18th, 40 seconds behind Poels. Teammate Giampaolo Caruso explained:
“My attack was planned. When you are able to do what is planned before the stage, you cannot complain about it. I attacked just before the last steep 500 meters of the Crispiero. It looked very good but then Poels came out of nowhere. It’s a pity that I didn't see him coming. I saw Pozzovivo but not Poels. He flew over us.”
“There was no victory today but I have a good feeling about our efforts. All eight riders did what I asked of them. It is a pleasure to see riders like Paolini, Porsev and Tsatevich working all day to help our climbers. This was an example of how a team has to function. You will see Team Katusha in the front a lot of times this year!” predicted team director José Azevedo.
Sunday’s stage 5 at 194 km is another one for the climbers. It begins in Esanatoglia and features an uphill finish in Terminillo.
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