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  Katusha sprinter got his chance as team captain

Photo: Team Katusha

ALEXEI TSATEVICH

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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28.02.2013 @ 10:10 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

 

The young Russian sprinter Alexey Tsatevich got his first win as a professional when he powered clear of the peloton in the final kilometer to win the Walloon season opener, Le Samyn. It was the result of carefully planned pre-race tactics.

 

Sport director Gennady Mikhailov had plenty of options in his pre-race planning of the one-day race Le Samyn which was held yesterday. With a team containing a number of young promising sprinters in Marco Haller, Rüdiger Selig, Alexander Porsev and Alexey Tsatevich, it may have been a tough ask to choose the correct weapon in case of the mass sprint which is the typical outcome of the Walloon race. With the latter showing good form in Volta ao Algarve and finishing the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with a fourth place in the sprint of the peloton, he was selected as the go-to man. As he celebrated his first victory on the top step of the podium in the late afternoon, it turned out to be a wise decision.

 

"I am really happy that I won today," Tsatevich said after the race. "The team gave me a chance to try today, the whole race was done around me, and I am thankful for that. I am happy that I was able to realize the wish of the team to win today."

 

Tsatevich had a number of strong performances in bunch sprints in his debut season last year, but until yesterday the win had eluded him. Surprisingly, his first victory came by anticipating the other fast men in the final kilometer of the race.

 

"In the final part of the race, I said to the team that I was ok and could try, so my teammates did all possible to help me and to provide an ideal position in the finish. I was waiting for the mass sprint, but a rider from Europcar (Sebastien Chavanel, ed.) attacked before it. I took his wheel and was able to save the energy. In the last meters I started my sprint to win. I am happy to get the first Russian victory for Katusha this year."

 

Unsurprisingly, sport director Genndady Mikhaylov was satisfied with his choice of sprinter. With Luca Paolini's victory in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the Russian team has had an incredible start to the Belgian cycling season - something Mikhaylov attributes to the CAS verdict regarding the team's ProTeam licence.

 

“Today, we planned our race for Alexey, so he was our leader," Mikhaylov said. "He was in good condition before the race, and we decided to try to help him to get a good result in the final sprint. During the whole race, the team worked hard for Alexey, while in the finish we did all possible to provide a good place for Tsatevich. He did a great uphill sprint and won. We all are very happy. I think the WorldTour license gives us additional motivation in the races”.

 

Tsatevich will get his next chance to show off his sprinting capabilities when he lines up in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen tomorrow. He will be accompanied by the same team members as yesterday - Marco Haller, Mikhail Ignatiev, Timofey Kristkiy, Viacheslav Kuznetsov, Rüdiger Selig, Alexander Porsev and Anton Vorobyev.

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