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“It certainly wasn’t ideal coming into the race. It was pretty hectic for a while there and the support staff did a tremendous job to even get us in the race," Frost says

Photo: Sirotti

NATHAN EARLE

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NEWS

TEAM SKY

NEWS

TOUR DU HAUT VAR

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
22.02.2014 @ 23:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Nathan Earle finished narrowly outside the top 10 for Team Sky after a day of drama at the Tour du Haut Var.
 

It had been touch and go whether Team Sky would even make the start line in Le Cannet des Maures after 16 bikes were stolen from a support vehicle overnight, but after drafting in spares from the team’s training base in Nice – and borrowing one bike from the Bretagne–Seche Environnement team – all eight riders were able compete during the opening day of action.

 

Given those early-morning distractions, the squad were content to sit in the peloton when five riders forged clear soon after the start flag had lowered.

 

That quintet saw their lead creep up to five minutes as they raced towards the Mediterranean coastline, but they had been reeled back in with 26km to go, and that early catch signalled a flurry of further attacks.

 

Thomas Vaubourzeix (Team La Pomme Marseille 13) was the first to go and managed 10km ahead of the pack before his threat was annulled. Quentin Jauregui (Roubaix - Lille Métropole) then tried has hand and was joined by Rémy Di Gregorio (Team La Pomme Marseille 13) and Brice Feillu (Bretagne–Seche Environnement) as they pressed into La Croix Valmer.

 

Giant-Shimano headed a determined pursuit and brought everything together as they passed under the flamme rouge, but Carlos Betancur stole a march by sprinting to a surprise victory ahead of John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and his AG2R-La Mondiale team-mate Samuel Dumoulin.

 

Earle was also in the mix and Sports Director Dan Frost was content with how events had panned out after a nightmare start to the day.

 

“It certainly wasn’t ideal coming into the race,” he admitted. “It was pretty hectic for a while there and the support staff did a tremendous job to even get us in the race.

 

“Sebastian [Henao] was on the borrowed bike and actually did a good job on it. He’s one of our protected guys for tomorrow, along with Nathan and Salvatore [Puccio]. The rest of the guys looked after them today and we came through it OK.

 

“Josh [Edmondson] suffered a flat tyre at a critical moment and he and Gabba [Rasch] had to use a lot of energy to get themselves back in the bunch, and the finish was steeper than expected so we decided to ride for Nathan instead of CJ [Sutton], who’s more of a pure sprinter.

 

“It really dragged up to the line, so that’s why the likes of Bentancur and some of the more punchier guys were there, and placings were important as they could be what ultimately decides the race.”

 

Sunday’s stage is a far more mountainous affair with two category one climbs to be overcome before the race winner is crowned in Draguignan.

 

“It’s going to be a tough stage. It’s over 200km and completely different from today,” Frost confirmed. “If a big group goes away we’ll look to get someone in there so we’re not having to chase later in the stage. Other than that, we’ll work for our protected guys and hope they can hold their own against some top-class opposition.”

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