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“In the end I feel happy because it’s been a long time since I’ve felt like a very active rider in the end of a big race. You saw that the team did a phenomenal job for me."

Photo: Sirotti






02.08.2014 @ 19:53 Posted by Andy Pedersen

The popular one-day race of Clásica San Sebastián took place in the Basque Country on Saturday with Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez active in the finale. A strong attack looked promising with less than 8 km to go, but the Team Katusha leader missed just a little to take the victory, instead seeing third place behind winner Alejandro Valverde of Movistar. Second place went to Bauke Mollema (Belkin).


“In the end I feel happy because it’s been a long time since I’ve felt like a very active rider in the end of a big race. You saw that the team did a phenomenal job for me. In the end I was able to counterattack and it’s always a kind of joy when you see that you are able to do that. I didn’t win as Alejandro was stronger than me. In a fraction of a second I lost contact with him.”


“It came from a brief moment of hesitation for me in a left corner on the descent and that was enough for him to get away and the guys behind to catch me. We lost again more time with the crash of Orica’s Adam Yates, but I am still happy to have been so active as well as to reach the podium. There is always a big difference between a third place and a 4th place,” said Joaquim Rodriguez.


The 219 km course included six rated climbs with five of them coming in the second half of the race.  Many attempts to get away were put up in the early kilometers, including one by Dmitriy Kozonchuk. The solo breakaway finally came from regional rider Amets Txurruka of Caja Rural who took off after 27 km and held an advantage of almost seven minutes before Katusha and other teams went to the front and worked to bring him back.


Active in the chase were Alberto Losada, Iurii Trofimov and Pavel Kochetkov. It was the good team work from Katusha that set things in motion for the finale with Rodriguez close to the win and happy to find form for the upcoming Vuelta.


“The team did what I asked them. We wanted to be in the break of the day. Dmitriy Kozonchuk tried in the beginning and then when Txurruka went away alone, we knew he was not a threat and we were safe. In the area of the Jaizkibel climbs, we had to attack. Alberto (Losada) did and he was even able to help again later on when Grivko did a solo try. Alberto, Pavel (Kochetkov) and Iurii (Trofimov) did an amazing job.”


 “Alexander Kolobnev impressed too with his attack on the Bordako Tontorra, but honestly that was not part of our plan. We always wanted to win and we could have won, but the podium in this race is not bad at all.  We are happy that Joaquim is back. This is promising for the Vuelta,” said sports director José Azevedo.


An attack from Alexander Kolobnev on the last climb of the Bordako Tontorra with 10 km to go gave an immediate advantage to the Russian rider on the twisting and turning narrow roads. As the groups came back together, Rodriguez dug in for his own attack with 7,7 km to go.


Valverde quickly followed the impressive move and the two Spaniards crested the climb together. But on the descent Valverde was just a bit faster and slipped away from Rodriguez to take a solo victory by 14-seconds.



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