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"It may be a surprise, but I have worked for this. The team has given me the confidence to train good at altitude in Colombia. It is not a surprise for me because I can climb well and every day I gained confidence."

Photo: Sirotti






17.06.2015 @ 21:47 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

"I have never raced this long or this high before. he most important thing to do on a climb like today is to ride your own rhythm."


Those were the words of Astana's Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev after stage five at the Tour de Suisse. Kozhatayev spent the first four hours of the stage working for the team as the race moved from Switzerland into neighboring Austria, together with Daniil Fominykh, Borut Božič and Valerio Agnoli to bring bottles and jackets from the team car to the peloton.


After 100km the peloton climbed the 2036m Bielerhöhe and teammate Davide Malacarne, who recently finished the Giro d'Italia, retired from the race. After a long, fast descent and rapid chase to the finish, at 220km the peloton began to climb the 2689m to the Sölden ski resort, where Jakob Fuglsang and Miguél López found themselves in an elite group of leaders on the 13km ascent.


López finished stage five in fourth position, 43 seconds behind stage winner and new race leader Thibaul Pinot of France. Fuglsang finished around 30 seconds later. Fuglsang is now sixth overall in General Classification, 1:27 behind Pinot. López is in fifth, 20 seconds in front of Fuglsang.


"It was a very complicated and hard stage at altitude. It may be a surprise, but I have worked for this. The team has given me the confidence to train good at altitude in Colombia. It is not a surprise for me because I can climb well and every day I gained confidence," Lopez told BiciCiclismo


"I was very concerned with keeping my strength and looking after Jakob (Fuglsang). When the attacks began, I could follow them but it was important not to go too deep."


"I'm not so bad in a time trial, although this is very long," he said, referring to the final stage. "And I've trained very little because in Colombia it is not that easy. But I think it's important to have good legs."


With four more stages and two riders in the Top-10, Astana Pro Team has good tactical possibilities for a podium as the 2015 Tour de Suisse moves back west into Switzerland for key stages again on Saturday around Bern and a final individual time trial on Sunday.



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