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“In the beginning it was mostly downhill so it was more or less easy, but the last 50k was stressful with the wind and everything.  I was happy to get into the first break - it was all the time uphill and with the crosswinds I wa...








27.03.2015 @ 21:20 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

An attentive Riccardo Zoidl was ready when the road tilted upward in an exposed crosswind section with around 40 kilometers to go in the Volta a Catalunya stage five. 


He was part of an exclusive 17-man split that contained all the top GC men, less one:  overall leader Bart De Clercq (Lotto Soudal) missed the boat and was unable to recover and sank down the leaderboard to 12th place by race end. Richie Porte (Sky) assumed the race’s new leadership role with only two stages remaining.


“We had a car ahead to check the parcours and we knew it was windy in the finale,”team director Alain Gallopin said about the tricky crosswinds in the final part of the race, “and I told to the guys the exact place. Riccardo had the legs to be in the front here and was able to make the select group. With what he did yesterday [in the breakaway] he was not able to go with the attack on the final climb, but Riccardo is a guy who has a good recovery and is able every day to do something well every day. He showed that today.”


Zoidl held on to finish in 16th place for the 195.4-kilometer stage and moved from 26th into 18th overall.  Although the climb up the leaderboard ladder into the top 20 was a small reward for today, Zoidl was more pleased about finishing with the select front group of favorites.


“I was pretty tired from yesterday and I wanted to have a relaxed day,” said Zoidl. “In the beginning it was mostly downhill so it was more or less easy, but the last 50k was stressful with the wind and everything.  I was happy to get into the first break – it was all the time uphill and with the crosswinds I was there with the leaders.


“It was very hard to stay with them - on the last climb I was really fighting to stay in the group. At 500m from the top they attacked and I was dropped, and from that point everyone was riding more or less alone to the finish.  I made a little time on the GC, but yeah it’s minor.  I was more happy to be in the front with these guys; it was a good day in the end.”


The day began with Calvin Watson joining two others in the day’s principal escape. The trio managed to stay ahead of a chasing peloton until the critical crosswind section where a determined peloton had them quickly back in the fold 44 kilometers from the end. 


“It was up to either me or Jasper [Stuyven] to get in the breakaway today, and Jasper tried early on and made a big group but Cannondale-Garmin chased that down pretty hard,” explained Watson.” I found myself with two others and we were working well together. We had a gap of over five minutes, but in the end the GC teams brought the peloton up in the crosswinds and our gap came tumbling down pretty fast and our day was done.


“I am always there to do my job and support the team and on day’s like today when I have an opportunity to go in a breakaway I really enjoy doing that. It’s nice for the confidence as well, I have been suffering quite a bit in the long climbs so it’s good for the morale to get out there.”


Although they reaped only a small result for their efforts Trek Factory Racing was active all race and represented in all the moves off the front - a showing of their strong, cohesive fighting spirit. With two stages to go more opportunities remain for the team to end the race with a much-sought-after win. 


Gallopin added: “We had hoped the first breakaway with Jasper would have gone; it was a group of 12 and it had a better chance to make it to the end. But Cannondale-Garmin pulled it back for the bonus sprint. Then Calvin went in a group of three – it was too bad that some sprinters’ teams did not join that.  Tomorrow it may end in a sprint, so we shall see.”



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