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"Once the break was gone, the director told me that the team would be working for me with an eye on the finale. Yesterday I saw the profile of the finish and I knew it would be relatively technical and steep."

Photo: IAM Cycling






27.08.2015 @ 21:18 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Spain has definitely been ruthless. With demanding finishes, there is no forgiveness for the slightest drop in speed. Such was the case this Thursday where, as is customary in Andalusia, the newly painted finish line was at the top of a climb that ramped up to 20%. 


On this type of finish, stamina, punchiness and climbing ability are all a prerequisite in order to have any hope of raising your arms in victory. No question then that is was once again a perfect stage for Esteban Chaves (Orica - GreenEDGE).  The Columbian climber crossed the line five seconds ahead of Dan Martin (Cannondale - Garmin) and Tom Dumoulin (Giant - Alpecin), recapturing the red leader’s jersey as a result of the time bonuses he also won.


For IAM Cycling, they certainly tried their hardest to get into the day’s breakaway, though their plans eventually had to change as the kilometers passed by. The Swiss team has several cards to play on this sort of stage, and today decided to rely on Larry Warbasse.  In the end, the American finished only 37 seconds behind the winner, ensuring that IAM Cycling could feel satisfied with their hard work done well for another day in Spain.


Therein certainly lies the strength of the Swiss team at the Vuelta. Having arrived at the race without a designated leader, the team is free to adapt their strategy day by day. With several riders likely to shine, IAM Cycling can build on the experience of Sylvain Chavanel and Jérôme Coppel, but may also decide to attempt to surprise with another rider. 


And that was the goal on Thursday by leveraging Larry Warbasse. 


“The stage was very nervous because everyone wanted to get into the break,” Warbasse, who hails from Michigan, explained. “And what sometimes happens on these grand tours when everyone wants to be at the front of the race, the speed is pushed very high. The average for the first hour was about 50 km/h, which is just insane.


"We did everything we could to try and get in the right group for the break, and we even managed to get into some escapes. Sylvain Chavanel got up the road with some riders, but they were reeled back pretty quickly. We did do a good job, though.


"Once the break was gone, the director told me that the team would be working for me with an eye on the finale. Yesterday I saw the profile of the finish and I knew it would be relatively technical and steep. I didn’t expect the team to work for me, but I gave it everything.


"The guys did an absolutely amazing job. Jérôme Coppel paced me to the base of the climb, and I was at the front with 400 meters to go, which was perfect. I finished 37 seconds behind the winner, but I am satisfied with what I did. I had spent a lot of energy early in the stage, and so to be able to finish in the front group with Froome and all the other favorites is a great sign for me. Of course, I would have preferred to finish 37 seconds ahead, but the signs are good, and I am encouraged for the future.”


The sports managers were equally satisfied with the amount of work the team did throughout the stage. 


“We are happy with what we did today because even if we did not get into the break, as we had planned to do in the team meeting this morning, our riders worked very well,” explained Eddy Seigneur, directeur sportif along with Mario Chiesa. “There was a GC candidate in the breakaway so it was doomed to failure anyways.


"And as far as the finale goes, luckily our assistants had forewarned us that there were ramps as difficult as 20%. So during the race, we changed the way we worked. We relied on Larry Warbasse to preform, and he defended his position very well. You could definitely say that he came away with an honorable result.”



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