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"In the end, I talked to Moinard to tell him that the stage win would be for him if we could stay away to the finish. I must say that for me, the only thing that really mattered was the overall standings," Betancur says

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AG2R CITROEN TEAM

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CARLOS ALBERTO BETANCUR

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SAMUEL DUMOULIN

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TOUR DU HAUT VAR

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23.02.2014 @ 22:47 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Carlos Betancur and Samuel Dumoulin finished off fantastic teamwork when they made it a 1-2 for Ag2r in the Tour du Haut-Var. The team had to control the 203km race in grueling terrain but it all paid off when Betancur again showed excellent condition by escaping with Amael Moinard on the final climb.

 

Yesterday Carlos Betancur excelled in unusual circumstances when he beat John Degenkolb in the sprint on stage one of the Tour du Haut-Var. Today the Colombian was back in his own terrain when he attacked on the final climb of the brutal second and final stage of the race, joining Amael Moinard (BMC) in the race-winning breakaway.

 

With no bonus seconds in the race and Betancur being equal on time with John Degenkolb, he had to finish ahead of the German to take home the overall win. As today's sprint was a flat one, that could be a complicated affair, forcing Betancur to kick into action on the steep climb at the end.

 

Betancur and Moinard had a seamless cooperation, with the Colombian being focused on the GC and the Frenchman targeting the stage. Betancur did nothing to hide that they had already planned how to share things if they arrived at the finish together.

 

"It was a tough day," he said. "Already, the early break was very hard to control with a lot of riders in there (8, ed.). I could count on a great team that controlled the race. 

 

"Personally, I felt very well in the finale. I attacked at the top of the final climb to make a difference. In the end, I talked to Moinard to tell him that the stage win would be for him if we could stay away to the finish. I must say that for me, the only thing that really mattered was the overall standings.

 

"This final victory gives me confidence for the next races. This motivates me even more. My main goals this season will be the Ardennes classics and the Tour de France."

 

In addition to Betancur's success, his teammate Samuel Dumoulin finished 2nd overall, making it a fantastic race for the French team which took their first win last week with Jean-Christophe Peraud. Dumoulin underlined that the tactics had been difficult to handle.

 

"This weekend, we showed that the team was very strong and that we have a homogeneous group," he said. "It is promising for the rest of the season. Today we had to be strong to control throughout the race. 

 

"The last kilometres were very difficult. I still had confidence in Carlos. I was afraid that Degenkolb would pass us because if it was determined on a countback, it would likely have been difficult. In the end, he managed to hurt the others on the final climb. 

 

"But I really want to commend the work of the team who did a huge job. I also have praise for the team staff that supports us and made the right tactical decisions today."

 

Sports director Julien Jurdie celebrated an outstanding team performance.

 

“Obviously, this racing weekend is very satisfying," he said. "Above all, I want to emphasize the great collective work during these two days. We finished 1st, 2nd and 6th overall with Carlos (Betancur) , Samuel (Dumoulin) and Mikael (Cherel). It’s a great result for these three riders but let us not forget that they would not have been able to shine without the important work of their teammates: Maxime Bouet , Lloyd Mondery, Alexis Vuillermoz , Hubert Dupont and Alexis Gougeard . They did a huge effort and they set an impressive tempo throughout the stage, a performance made which was made even more difficult by the hard terrain. We proved our human and athletic value.  We controlled the race and the peloton from km 0 to km 203. The final victory rewards the work of a strong group.
 
"The team obtained good results in February. The riders gain confidence in view of major races in March like Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Vuelta a Catalunya and the Classics. It’s very important for the rest of the season.”

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