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"Then  [Daniele] Bennati went and I had to go full gas and I came from the back but Degenkolb was too strong. I came a little bit closer but then he kicked again. I am okay with second, it’s all I could do today.”

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DANNY VAN POPPEL

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FRANK SCHLECK

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HAIMAR ZUBELDIA

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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13.09.2015 @ 23:06 Posted by Andy Pedersen

It was a short 98.8-kilometer final stage at the Vuelta a España and it all ended with the expected bunch sprint where John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) sprinted to the win ahead of Danny Van Poppel and Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC).

 

The first half of the stage was a ceremonial procedure until the peloton hit the circuit in the heart of Madrid, 10 laps of 5.9 kilometers, where the race immediately kicked into action. Numerous attacks kept the pace high as Trek Factory Racing, Giant-Alpecin and a few other teams hungry for the win kept everything tight and controlled.

 

On the final lap, everything was back together and the bunch sprint imminent. The battle for the final corner leading into a long one kilometer straightaway to the finish was fierce, and Giant-Alpecin showed its prowess is the sprint train as they led the way, while behind a scramble ensued for Degenkolb’s wheel.

 

“It was really, really dangerous the last 5K,” said Danny Van Poppel. “Boy [Van Poppel] helped me in the finale, and the whole team did a really good job in the front, even the climbers were really, really good. I really appreciate that even when everyone knows I am leaving the team, they still went full for me. That’s team spirit!

 

“The final kilometers I was in the wheel of Degenkolb, but [Daryl] Impey was next to me and I lost my position and a lot of power because I was forced to go full in the wind. Then  [Daniele] Bennati went and I had to go full gas and I came from the back but Degenkolb was too strong. I came a little bit closer but then he kicked again. I am okay with second, it’s all I could do today.”

 

Degenkolb paid back his team’s perfect lead-out, taking the win by over a bike length, as Danny Van Poppel narrowly edged out Drucker for second. Although the win would have been the ‘cherry on the cake’, Van Poppel was satisfied with the result after a highly successful Vuelta:

 

“I am happy to finish the Vuelta. Two times I have done the Tour de France and two times I have not finished, so it was a really big goal for me to finish. I also won stage 12 and now second in Madrid so for me I am very happy; it has been a very good Vuelta for me, and also for the team.”

 

Trek Factory Racing hit misfortune early in the three-week Grand Tour, but the team pushed it aside and rallied in a show of motivation and spirit that allowed them to trump its goals.

 

TFR.com caught up with a smiling director Dirk Demol who was more than pleased with the team’s performance, heaping praise on the team after winning three stages:

 

“We go home with three stage wins, two second places, and the last week we were represented in the breakaways; we were in the game every day trying to win. It was an amazing Vuelta that the boys did even though it started bad when we lost Fabian [Cancellara] and then a week later Jasper [Stuyven]. But the team stayed so motivated.

 

“It was great to see riders like Fränk [Schleck] and Haimar [Zubeldia] pulling in front for a sprint, that is something new for them, and I am a proud man. We came with the hope to win a stage and with ambitions for the GC, but that was over with the big crash in the first week. We kept the motivation, and we played other cards and we go home with three stage wins and two second places. I am a happy man!”

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