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"It was very hard up to now. I noticed indeed already the difference between a normal stage race and a race of this level. The Tour of Spain is much harder than any other race I’ve ever done."

Photo: Katusha / Tim de Waele






04.09.2014 @ 22:23 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Katusha have done nothing to nothing to hide that they regard Sergey Chernetckii as a future grand tour contender. These day the Russian is enjoying his three-week debut at the Vuelta a Espana where he is working hard for team leader Joaquim Rodriguez.


Team Katusha’s Sergei Chernetckii is just half way through his first ever Grand Tour. Chernetckii was happy with the “easy” stage 12, a kind of criterium in Logroño.


"It was very hard up to now. I noticed indeed already the difference between a normal stage race and a race of this level. The Tour of Spain is much harder than any other race I’ve ever done. The stages are tough, because they are constantly very fast. There is also more stress on the road and there is the enthusiasm of the Spanish public. But we are just professional riders to experience all this. I will not complain, though I realize the hardest stages are still to come," said Sergei Chernetckii after the stage in Logroño.


2013 was a beautiful year for Chernetckii with a victory in the Tour des Fjords, a 4th place in the Tour of Austria and a strong performance in the Tour de Pologne.


"Now it is time for Sergei to make another step. Winning in the European Tour is nice, but to grow and to improve, you need to race at one level higher, which means the WorldTour races. We cannot expect from Sergei that he will win immediately. We don’t push him and we don’t put pressure on him. For him the best thing to do is to work here for Joaquim Rodríguez and to learn. He needs to steal with his eyes. I talk with him every day. A good lesson for him, for example, was the stage before Albacete when there were those crosswinds that surprised many riders. It was a new experience for Sergei in a big race and he will never forget that," added team director José Azevedo.


"Here in the Vuelta I like to work for ‘Purito’. He is such a great rider and human being. He is still one of the best riders in the world. It is an honor to be allowed to help him. My time will come later; I just need to get a little bit stronger," said Sergei Chernetckii.


"Sergei will not think of his personal ambitions right now.  Our goal in the Vuelta is clear. We all work for Purito, who deserves that. In the mean time Sergei can improve. He has so much talent. His TT is already at a high level. He just needs to improve on the long climbs. We will give him the time. We believe in him for the future. Every year he will get better and one day he will finish top ten in a Grand Tour," analyzed director José Azevedo.


The cooperation between the Russian group and the Spanish group at Team Katusha works very well. All riders speak a mixture of some English, Italian and Spanish and in the end they all speak the language of the bike. They are professionals and just one look can be enough to understand what needs to be done.


"‘Purito’ has not told me yet that he appreciates my work, but I can see it in his eyes," said Sergei Chernetckii.


"Everybody in the team likes Sergei. The Spanish “group” also. They even pushed us to put Sergei in the roster of this race. Of course because of his talent, but also because he is just a nice guy," concluded team director José Azevedo.


The stage 12, held in Logroño, was won by John Degenkolb from Giant-Shimano, who outsprinted Tom Boonen from Omega Pharma – Quick-Step and Jacopo Guarnieri from Astana.


In the general classification there were no changes: Alberto Contador is the leader, Joaquim Rodriguez is 5th, 1.35 behind the leader.



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