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"I knew that Albasini was the strongest. He won two stages before today,so he's really in great condition. On the last climb I tried to accelerate and before the top I was a little bit ahead, but when we arrived at the top we had a...

Photo: OPQS / Tim De Waele

JAN BAKELANTS

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SOUDAL - QUICK STEP

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TOUR DE ROMANDIE

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03.05.2014 @ 19:35 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jan Bakelants had a big chance to take his first win for Omega Pharma-Quick Step when he made it into the successful breakaway in today's penultimate stage of the Tour de Romandie but Belgian came up short against the unstoppable Michael Albasini. Despite only trying a very brief attack in the finale, however, the Belgian refused that he could have done it any differently.

 

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Jan Bakelants and two of his original breakaway companions were able to stay away until the finish line in the 174km stage on Saturday.

 

Bakelants shed some breakaway riders when he launched an attack with 10.2km to go and the gap at 1'12". Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Michael Albasini (ORICA-GreenEDGE) were able to stay with the move. The three cooperated well, and carried a 46" gap inside 3km to go.

 

Bakelants moved back to 3rd wheel for the final kilometers, and tried to launch an attack from there at about 1km to go in the stage. However, Albasini immediately reacted from the front. The trio played cat and mouse until they were within the final couple hundred of meters. Albasini was able to launch when Voeckler started to accelerate, and he stayed away for the win. Voeckler was 2nd, Bakelants was 3rd.

 

"I'm happy about my race," Bakelants said. "It wasn't easy we went full has in front the entire day. We were a pretty good and strong group, who worked well together.

 

"I knew that Albasini was the strongest. He won two stages before today,so he's really in great condition. On the last climb I tried to accelerate and before the top I was a little bit ahead, but when we arrived at the top we had a headwind and it was impossible to relaunch to get a gap after that.

 

"In the final it was difficult to play tactically. The peloton was close, so we had to go until the end together to succeed. I tried to accelerate before the sprint, but Albasini was able to stop me. But OK, when you are in the front you always try to win and I did my best in the final meters.

 

"Even if I didn't win I am happy, because at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, due to bad luck with mechanicals, I didn't have the chance to be there in the final. Here at Tour de Romandie, it's been a different story. Yesterday I did a good race and it was the same case today. It's nice to have again this feeling of staying in the front and being competitive.

 

"I will take a period of rest for a week after this race, but it's nice to end my first period of racing with a couple of good performances." 

 

OPQS looks next to a final stage 18.5km ITT on Sunday.

 

Michal Kwiatkowski did not take the start. For more information on that decision, click here.

 

Tony Martin was involved with a late race crash, but got a new bike and continued to ride to the finish.

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