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“The whole team worked hard today. We wanted to demonstrate initiative in the last lap which is easier said than done, but we managed to do it anyway. Moreno (Hofland, ed.) was a big help although we broke a tad early and the last inc...






19.03.2013 @ 22:08 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

Blanco did the bulk of the work in the final 40 km of today's second stage of the Volta a Catalunya. Their hard effort was rewarded by a 5th place for sprinter Robert Wagner who was impressed by the initiative shown by the team.


It was a surprise for many to see Blanco amass massively at the head of peloton towards the end of the day's racing in Banyoles. With Robert Wagner, Jetse Bol and Moreno Hofland, the team had a trio of fast finishers in its ranks, but none of them were seen as pre-race favourites.


Nonetheless, Jack Bobridge and Stef Clement almost single-handedly closed the gap to the day's early breakaway in the 4 laps of a final finishing circuit, and the team kept the control all the way to the flamme rouge. When Bobridge and Clement had used up their firepower, even the team's GC leader Robert Gesink did a huge turn on the front.


In the end, Wagner sprinted to a 5th place, and even if it may seem to be a disappointing outcome, the hard effort was more a case of building confidence by taking control of the race than going for a win on the day.


“The whole team worked hard today," Wagner said. "We wanted to demonstrate initiative in the last lap which is easier said than done, but we managed to do it anyway. Moreno (Hofland, ed.) was a big help although we broke a tad early and the last inclined bit was just too much.” 


After a huge disappointment for the team in Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-Sanremo, the team got a great boost of confidence when team leader Robert Gesink bounced back from illness to join yesterday's decisive 13-man group and set himself up for a high overall finish.


Even though he admitted that the riders had got a little ahead of themselves in the final, sports director Merijn Zeeman was happy to see the team step up again after a difficult period.


"We had a plan," he explained. "We knew the route and knew where the pitfalls were. The goal was to keep Robert Gesink out of trouble and put Robert Wagner in a good position.”


The team will take that optimistic into tomorrow's first of two decisive days in the mountains where Gesink will have to stay among the best if he is to fulfill the team's ambitions. Starting at 15.15, you can follow the Dutchman's battle against the likes of Valverde, Rodriguez and Wiggins on



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