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Unstoppable Kristoff wins tough race in Gippingen

After a late attack by Dillier had been brought back with 400m to go, Kristoff powered clear of a reduced bunch to win the GP Kanton Aargau; Albasini and Appollonio completed the podium

ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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GP KANTON AARGAU 

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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MICHAEL ALBASINI

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NICCOLÓ BONIFAZIO

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11.06.2015 @ 21:01 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) continued his successful 2015 season when he used his powerful sprint and good climbing legs to win the tough one-day race GP Kanton Aargau. After a late attack by Silvan Dillier (BMC) had been neutralized in the finale, the Norwegian was the fastest in the reduced bunch sprint and beat Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Davide Appollonio (Androni) into the minor podium positions.

 

There seems to be no end to Alexander Kristoff’s run of success in 2015. Ever since he started his season in the Tour of Qatar he has been winning races and nothing has changed after he has had a short post-classics break.

 

His impressive spring season was crowned by wins in the Tour of Flanders, Scheldeprijs and 3 Days of De Panne and since he returned to competition, he has taken numerous stage wins in both the Tour of Norway and the Tour des Fjords. Today he again used his powerful sprint to add a tough one-day race to his palmares as he won the traditional warm-up event for the Tour de Suisse, GP Kantan Aargau, in impressive fashion.

 

The 181.5km race was held on its traditional 12.1km circuit in Gippingen and the riders would do no less than 15 laps. After a flat start, the circuit included a tough 2km climb and a subsequent descent that led to the final 4 flat kilometres. The race has traditionally been decided in a reduced bunch sprint and most of the teams had lined up strong sprinters who could survive the tough climbing.

 

It was a nice, sunny day in Gippingen when the riders headed out for the first lap on the circuit and they got it off to a very fast start. There were several attacks in the early part of the race until a 6-rider break was finally formed.

 

Martin Mortensen (Cult), Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Tiziano Dall’Antonia (Androni), Frederik Backaert (Wanty), Christoph Pfingsten (Bora-Argon 18) and Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen) managed to get clear and as the peloton slowed down, their advantage grew quickly. After three laps, they were 7.33 ahead of the peloton while Jerome Pineau (IAM) was trying to bridge the gap, dangling 3.35 behind the leaders.

 

The gap reached a maximum of 9 minutes before BMC and Orica-GreenEDGE started to chase. While Pineau decided to sit up, those three teams combined forces to gradually reduce their deficit and at the end of the fifth lap, they were just. 5.33 behind.

 

Orica-GreenEDGE and BMC kept the gap stable at around 5 minutes for a long time and had the situation completely under control. At the end of the 9th lap, they were 4.45 behind the six leaders who were working well together.

 

 

The peloton finally decided to accelerate and this was the signal for van Hecke to attack. Morten bridged the gap to the lone Belgian and later Dall’Antonia and Backaert also made it back to the leaders.

 

At the end of the 11th lap, Pfingsten and Lopez had already lost 1.36 while the peloton was now just 3.43 behind. Katusha were now also contributing to the pace-setting and their work was enough to bring Pfingsten and Lopez back.

 

With three laps to go, the gap was only 2.45 and now Katusha had taken complete control. They made a big acceleration and as they started the penultimate lap, they were just 45 seconds behind the leaders.

 

Now the attacking started from the peloton but no one managed to escape. Instead, the front quartet was brought back and it was gruppo compatto with 20km to go.

 

The attacking continued and 13 riders had an advantage of 100m as they started the final lap. Howeverm they were brought back before they got to the climb for the final time where Linus Gerdemann (Cult) made and attack.

 

The German was brought back and instead Silvan Dillier tried his hand. The local hero was the first rider to crest the summit and he was 8 seconds ahead as he entered the final 5km.

 

Dillier went into time trial mode and he did an impressive performance to extend his advantage to 17 seconds with 3km to go. However, the chase had now got organized and inside the final 400m, the Swiss was brought back.

 

Instead, it all came down to a sprint from a 55-rider group and here Kristoff was always the rider to beat. The Norwegian powered clear to hold off Michael Albasini and Davide Appollonio and take the 17th win of his impressive 2015 season.

 

Many of the riders from today’s race – including the three riders on the podium – will be back in action on Saturday when the biggest Swiss race Tour de Suisse starts with a 5.1km time trial.

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