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“Luca also said it was more than we expected. We finished with nine, we had a great ambiance in the team every day, and we were present in so many stages. I believe that we made a very good race," Baffi says

Photo: Sirotti

GIRO D'ITALIA

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JULIAN DAVID ARREDONDO

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ROBERT KISERLOVSKI

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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01.06.2014 @ 22:19 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

With four grand tour debutants on the roster, Trek was a bit uncertain about what to expect in the Giro d'Italia but the youngsters exceeded all their expectations. Julian Arredondo won a stage and the mountains jersey, Giacomo Nizzolo was runner-up four times and Robert Kiserlovski finished in the top 10.

 

Trek Factory Racing crossed the finish line in Trieste with all nine riders, one of only two teams that managed this feat. It was a testament to the young and cohesive spirit that carried them from the first stage to the last. When the nine pedaled over the line for the final time in Trieste on Sunday the tally was impressive for such a young team: Robert Kiserlovski placed 10th overall, Julian Arredondo claimed stage 18 and the mountains’ competition, and Giacomo Nizzolo four times sprinted to second place in the bunch sprints. 

“The whole team, staff and riders, showed by the second week that we were working really well as a team," sports director Josu Larrazabal said. "Adriano [Baffi] did a great job from the beginning and it was hard with the travel from Ireland, the bad weather, and all the crashes. When I arrived here [in the second half] I already saw a very good ambience.

 

"We are one of two teams who have finished the Giro with all nine riders. We do not score points for that but it is a nice signal nontheless. Not only that we had nine finish, but that they were all still focused and motivated right to the last meter of the race.”

Robert Kiserlovski’s 10th place in the general classification is a sign he is poised for better things to come. The Giro d’Italia was a big goal for the 27-year-old, and his consistent climbing from the first week to the last was verification that he, too, has matured into a solid Grand Tour contender.

“It’s good," he said. "I am really happy. It’s good for the future; I am also hoping to do the Vuelta this year. It’s really exciting to see the young riders of the team - the new generation - do so well. Me too, I am not so old eh?

 

"Every year I have progressed and this year was the best so far. For me I felt strong from the first to the last day. For the first time I come out of the Giro not completely exhausted. It’s going to be interesting in the next years, and I think I am going to be there. For sure.”

The young Trek Factory Racing team that lined up for the first day in Ireland battled from day one; the cohesive spirit was evident even before the team landed in Italy for the remainder of the three-week tour. In the very first road stage Giacomo Nizzolo sprinted to a third place; It set the tone. From that moment on the team would score numerous podium finishes – the taste of victory was so close. 

That victory finally arrived when Julian Arredondo gave an amazing display of determination and grit on stage 18. Not only did he instigate the break of the day, but he also won both mountaintop points leading up to the final long ascent, where he pounced to victory in the last four kilometers. It was an amazing performance in his first ever Grand Tour and it cemented the maglia azzurra firmly to his back.

“I am super happy to win a stage and the blue jersey, but it was not only this," Arredondo said. "As a team we were so united in such a great way and we finished the race with all nine of us. That is special that we could all experience the whole race all together to the very end - that makes he happy, too. It is very promising for the future. 

“For me I made a dream come true. I did what I really, really wanted and what I worked hard for. I was aiming for this from the beginning of the season. Now that I have reached this I can make new goals. I can say that there are nice things coming up for me and for the team.”

There is no doubt that the team spirit soared during the Giro, due in large part to the handiwork of the team’s masterminds, directors Adriano Baffi, Dirk Demol and Josu Larrazabal. What the multi-national team lacked in experience (four of them raced the Giro d’Italia for the first time, for three of those it was their first Grand Tour ever) they made up with youthful vigor - and it was the work behind the scenes that pulled them together and pushed them in the right direction.

“Adriano has a really good way to work with young riders and to find the right way to bring them together with motivation," Larrazabal said. "With the experience he has from being a rider himself, he knows this race and he knows how to manage every situation. For me it was really easy to work with him. I learned a lot - like I always do with this team – and in this sense it was perfect.”

Director Adriano Baffi was all smiles after the finish in Trieste. It was another bittersweet ending as Giacomo Nizzolo once again placed second in the mass sprint that ended the final stage - his fourth time as runner-up – but despite another near miss Baffi heaped praise on a young Trek Factory Racing team that rose above expectations, and performed well beyond their years.

“I believe this is the best story we could have," he said. "We had a meeting with Luca (Guercilena, Team Director) and the team about how this was a great race, a great adventure we did. Honestly with the young team that we have, with not a lot of experience, we did the maximum we could – we really deserve the next days of rest.

“Luca also said it was more than we expected. We finished with nine, we had a great ambiance in the team every day, and we were present in so many stages. I believe that we made a very good race - it was not only about results.”

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