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"But we tried to work well, smoothly; maybe this was the key for the break’s success. Unfortunately I could not get the victory, only 4th place. But, for the first stage of the first race I think this is a nice result. Anyway, it...

Photo: Katusha / Tim de Waele




20.01.2015 @ 12:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Maxim Belkov from the Russian WorldTour Team Katusha spent a solid race today at the first stage of the Santos Tour Down Under, finishing in 4th position. Belkov became a part of the successful 4-man breakaway, which finally contested the stage victory.


The first stage of the race started in Tanunda and finished in Campbelltown after 132.6 km of racing. Attacks in the peloton began from the start of the stage. After one of the attacks, a group of four riders broke clear, taking a good gap: Maxim Belkov, Jack Bobridge from UniSA-Australia, Luke Durbridge from Orica-GreenEdge and Lieuwe Westra from Astana. The group of Belkov managed to get a two and a half minute of advantage, but after that moment the peloton started to control the situation.


Before the only climb of the day Checker Hill the breakaway had a 25-second gap, but later it increased to 50 seconds. It was enough for the break to reach the finish and to play the victory in a 4-man sprint. Finally, Bobridge won the stage, Westra was second, while Durbridge closed the podium. Maxim Belkov was 4th. A few moments later Niccolo Bonifazio from Lampre-Merida won the bunch sprint for 5th place.


"Before the stage I was motivated to try to go in a breakaway if I saw a chance. As we started, I saw a lot of attacks. I went too and immediately I found myself in a small group. We could build a nice gap quickly. In such a stage as today's it was clear that the peloton would control the situation and nobody would give us too much space. But we tried to work well, smoothly; maybe this was the key for the break’s success. Unfortunately I could not get the victory, only 4th place. But, for the first stage of the first race I think this is a nice result. Anyway, it motivates me to keep on fighting," said Maxim Belkov.


"Today we had two opportunities – to try to go in escape or to fight in the final bunch sprint. So, before the start I asked the riders to attack from the beginning and to try to go in a breakaway. Maxim did it and I can say he did a very good race. Indeed, the peloton controlled the break, they had 1,5 – 2 minutes of advantage only, but the break was able to stay in front until the finish line. With two km to go, Maxim tried to go for himself a few times, but the rivals caught him every time. Anyway, I am sure we can be proud of today’s stage. Katusha starts this season actively and we are looking forward for next stages," added sports director Gennady Mikhaylov.


In tge general classification Jack Bobridge became the first race leader, while Maxim Belkov is 4th overall.


Tomorrow the second stage of the Tour Down Under will be held – 150,5 km from Unley to Stirling.



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