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“I did not expect it to go so fast in the first big climb and at the top I was surprised that I was in the first 10-12 riders."

Photo: Sirotti

FRANK SCHLECK

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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26.03.2015 @ 18:15 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Fabio Felline sprinted to seventh place in the first edition of Corsica Classica, a new race on the UCI calendar ahead of the CI that starts Saturday. Fränk Schleck also showed in Thursday’s new event that he has rebounded from his debilitating injury, a promising sign for Trek Factory Racing to have one of its leaders back in action ahead of the Ardennes Classics.

 

With all the climbs situated in the first part of the 203.8-kilometer race, followed by a lengthy downhill and predominantly flat run-in, Corsica Classica was targeted to end in a bunch sprint. Numerous breakaways tried their best to upset the rightful order to the day’s parcours, but in the end it was a large peloton rushing under the red kite and toward the white line.

 

I did not expect it to go so fast in the first big climb and at the top I was surprised that I was in the first 10-12 riders. Fabio Felline was ready to pull the trigger after the hard work by his teammates in the chase, but was left frustrated after a tricky finish foiled his shot and left him in seventh place. Thomas Boudat (Europcar) won the first ever Classica Corsica.

 

“I am not super happy because in the last 400 meters I lost some positions to make a good sprint,” explained Felline his disappointment evident. “It was not what I hoped for and not a good result for my teammates who worked so hard for me. I want to thank the team for all their work, and I am very disappointed in my finish. For sure my condition is good, I am ready, and we will try again in the next days.”

 

The tough early ascent split the peloton as anticipated, but the long ensuing downhill allowed everything to regroup, including a 3-man escape group, with plenty of racing left. The door opened again for three more opportunists to flee off the front with some 40 kilometers remaining, which had Trek Factory Racing pulling up its sleeves to lend a hand in the chase to bring the trio back into rightful place. With less than five kilometers to the white line, the three men were finally reeled in.

 

In his first race back since his debilitating injury sustained in a crash at Ruta del Sol that caused 10 crucial days off the bike followed by a long, slow process before he could train 100 percent, Fränk Schleck was pleased with how the day unfolded. He crested the day’s tough uphill with the top riders and then in the final 40 kilometers he worked hard to help pull back the breakaway group.

 

“I did not expect it to go so fast in the first big climb and at the top I was surprised that I was in the first 10-12 riders,” admitted Schleck, amazed with his form in his first race since February 18. “It started raining and it was a very nasty downhill. Afterward, on the long downhill to the coast everything came back together. Then it was clear for our team that we wanted to win the race and our best option was to go for Fabio. So Laurent [Didier] and myself pulled hard in the last part but it turned out it was a tricky finish for Eugenio [Alafaci] and Fabio. I think the boys were very good today and did a great job. For my part, so far I am very satisfied with the legs and shape – it doesn’t look so bad.”

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