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"After seeing that Rafal is on his way back to his real level, I remain poised and assured that he will improve steadily and stay motivated ahead of the Ardennes Classics."

Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo




11.04.2015 @ 20:32 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tinkoff-Saxo finished 15th in the general classification of Vuelta al País Vasco with team captain Rafal Majka, who at the same time displays a shape on the ascendency after struggling with illness and performances below his usual level. Joaquim Rodriquez took the overall win after overthrowing Sergio Henao on the last mountainous TT.
Despite finishing 49th on the final undulating time trial to Aia, Tinkoff-Saxo’s sports director Patxi Vila noted that he was content with the team captain’s overall performance.
“We had expected more from Rafal today but looking at the bigger picture and taking into account the entire race, I’m pleased with his performance and the fact that he has performed better here than in Paris-Nice and Catalunya. After seeing that Rafal is on his way back to his real level, I remain poised and assured that he will improve steadily and stay motivated ahead of the Ardennes Classics”, says Patxi Vila and adds:
“Today was a really difficult TT, since we started downhill, continued with a short flat part, then a steep climb another downhill and the finishing ramp up to Aia. This meant that it was difficult to find the rhythm and we also had to reach a technical decision on whether to swap bikes. With Rafal, we opted for our aerodynamic Venge with TT handlebar extensions, however it’s difficult to say if it would have been beneficial with a bike swap. But sometimes it comes down to the rider’s intuition”.

Going into the final 18.3km time trial, race leader Sergio Henao (SKY) and Rodriguez were neck and neck in the fight for the overall GC. Ultimately, Rodriguez’ second place, behind stage winner Tom Dumoulin (TGA), was enough for him to secure the win with 13 seconds. For Tinkoff-Saxo, Rafal Majka lacked the same good sensations from stage 5 and slipped from 13th to 15th in the final GC.
“When you’re still not in prime shape, your daily form tends to fluctuate. Yesterday, Rafal was feeling good, while today was a different story. However, País Vasco is, in my opinion, the hardest one-week race on the calendar, so for Rafal it’s an ideal preparation ahead of the Ardennes. Now, together with the rest of the squad, he will have some days of recuperation and then we start building”, notes Patxi Vila, who was all in all satisfied with the teamwork.
“I saw many of the guys improving during the race and the overall level of the team was better than in Volta a Catalunya. Pawel Poljanski improved, Chris Anker showed form and will in the breakaway on stage 5, Bruno Pires as well and Oliver Zaugg was also better until his unfortunate crash. However, Oliver has now been discharged from the hospital and is on his way home”, finishes Patxi Vila.



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