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“This morning in our team meeting our focus was to try and get into the breakaway, hopefully with a big group with either Matthew [Busche] or Riccardo [Zoidl]."




02.05.2015 @ 21:25 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Every day at the Tour de Romandie the parcours have been challenging. Aside from numerous categorized climbs each stage there have been countless uncategorized hills to get over. It’s pure Switzerland in all its rugged, and to the riders, punishing beauty.


Saturday’s queen stage, a 162.7-kilometer jaunt from Fribourg to the mountain finish at Champex-Lac, packed in the most uphill meters of them all: 3408 (11,181 feet).  It was simply a day of survival for most; the stage was for the climbers and there was no more holding back – it was game-on for the overall classification.


The fireworks erupted on the final 12-kilometer climb to the finish and it was Thibaut Pinot ( who snuck off the front to grab the victory.  Ilnur Zacarin (Katusha) finished seven seconds later and assumed new leadership of the race.  Chris Froome (Sky) arrived with a small group at 20 seconds, holding onto third overall.


The top four in the overall classification are now separated by 19 seconds, leaving tomorrow’s ending time trial to determine the final podium.

Trek Factory Racing’s objective in today’s brutal stage was to be part of the day’s breakaway, but a few teams kept a tight rein on who was permitted freedom ahead of the peloton. When the day’s breakaway formed, only two men were in the mix. They forged onwards, but it was to an inevitable demise.


“This morning in our team meeting our focus was to try and get into the breakaway, hopefully with a big group with either Matthew [Busche] or Riccardo [Zoidl],” explained director Alain Gallopin. “Unfortunately, some teams controlled very well and allowed only two riders to go away.”


Riccardo Zoidl was pinned with the job of trying to ride as far to the finish as he could with the favorites, and an underlying goal for all the team was to get some hard, climbing miles into the legs ahead of the Giro d’Italia.


The peloton lost numbers rapidly with each successive climb; by the top of the second of four category-one climbs with still 60 kilometers to ride only 50 riders remained. Trek Factory Racing had three in the front with Kristof Vandewalle, Matthew Busche and Riccardo Zoidl all climbing well.


Riccardo Zoidl hung strong with the favorites as the skies opened and once again the rain fell; cold and wet he managed a respectable 31st place (+4’34). 


The rest of the team survived the difficult day; each crossed the line, soaking wet from the rain, and under the ruthless conditions it was a successful achievement for all.


“In the final kilometers Kristof, Matthew, and Riccardo were still there, and Riccardo made a good final climb. At the end of the day we did our maximum, and you cannot ask more from the guys,” summed up Gallopin.



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