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“When the stage is short, the pace is always that little bit harder, and on the second category climb before the finish, the road went up for 1km too much for Luka to make the front group," Marie says

Photo: Sirotti










30.04.2014 @ 20:03 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

With two fast sprinters in their ranks, Team Giant-Shimano were widely tipped as one of the favourites in today's stage of the Tour de Romandie but the final climb proved to be a bit too tough for Luka Mezgec and Marcel Kittel. Instead, it was young Austrian climber Georg Preidler who did best for the team by sprinting to 11th. 


Stage 1 of the Tour de Romandie had to be reduced because of the weather conditions early int he stage, thereby removing the first mountain ascent, however this didn’t stop a select front group forming at the end of the stage. From this group, Georg Preidler sprinted to 11th place behind stage winner Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE).


The stage initially included a first category mountain climb in the first half, however heavy snow and freeing temperatures forced the organisers to move the start of the stage forward to after the descent following the climb, making the stage just 88.5km in length.


A small break of three soon formed, but with such a short distance to race, the peloton weren’t giving them much leeway and they were soon back within reach of the bunch.


The peloton still had to tackle a difficult second category climb in the final 25km and this caused over half of the peloton to lose ground, including Marcel Kittel. Prediler rode a strong climb to stay near the front of the race.


Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) attacked on the descent of the final climb and built up 25-seconds advantage but the teammates of overnight leader, Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQS) had it under control and brought the race back together for a sprint.


Luka Mezgec and Albert Timmer both finished in a group at 57-seconds, while the rest all finished further back, making it home safely within the time cut.


Tem Giant-Shimano coach, Lionel Marie said:


“Even though the stage was shortened it was still a long day because of the transfers and logistics involved, getting the start of the race 100km down the road.


“When the stage is short, the pace is always that little bit harder, and on the second category climb before the finish, the road went up for 1km too much for Luka to make the front group.


“Georg looked strong and was fine to stay in the front group, and Marcel [Kittel] also looked strong. Tomorrow will be another tough day, good for preparation for the Giro d’Italia and we will see how Luka copes with the hills.”



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