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“They all came up to me to congratulate me and they said that I had just been the strongest today. In the last few kilometres, it was a kind of game, though it wasn’t only wisdom. Just being strong can bring you a long way,"...

Photo: Belkin Pro Cycling Team






29.03.2014 @ 19:36 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Stef Clement (Belkin) took a rare victory in today's penultimate stage of the Volta a Catalunya when he escaped out of a breakaway in the finale. Savouring his first WorldTour victory, the Dutchman was proud to tell that his fellow escapees had described him as the strongest rider in the group.


Stef Clement triumphed in the sixth stage of the Volta a Catalunya today. The Dutchman brought the Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM the seventh victory of the season, this one in the WorldTour, with a vicious attack in the final kilometres. 

Clement was part of the break the day's escape in the 163-kilometre stage from El Vendrell to Vilanova i la Geltrúdeel. In the finale, when it became clear that the peloton would not be able to catch the escape, it started raining attacks. Clement’s punch turned out to be decisive. 

“I don’t win many races, so this is great. The fact that this is a WorldTour race makes it extra special,” said Clement. “I’m going to enjoy this to the fullest.


"This victory is a nice reward for the team. We've had some bad luck as Wilco dropped out of the top ten after a crash, but we have shown resilience and were in every break in the last few days. This win makes up for all the bad luck. I really feel that the guys are happy for me.” 


Clement received compliments from his fellow escapees right after the race.


“They all came up to me to congratulate me and they said that I had just been the strongest today. In the last few kilometres, it was a kind of game, though it wasn’t only wisdom. Just being strong can bring you a long way. Because I don’t often get in this position, I felt some pressure, but fortunately everything fell into place.” 


Clement celebrated his victory in the red mountain jersey. Today he gained some more points and strengthened his lead in the classification. The Dutchman, however, knows that a tough final day awaits him tomorrow. 

“It would be foolish not to fight for the jersey as today I had to work hard for the points, it took a lot of power. But, honestly, I haven’t really thought about it just yet. First, I want to enjoy this victory!” 


Frans Maassen was very happy with Clement’s victory.


“This year our focus is centrered on the WorldTour, so this win is great. It’s always nice to achieve your objectives. The way Stef claimed the victory, in the mountain jersey, made everything extra special. That gave me a real a kick.” 


Maassen was supported by Moreno Hofland, who was watching the race at home on television.


“That was nice, because our TVs didn’t work in the car,” he said. 


Laurens ten Dam didn’t end the stage unscathed. The Dutchman was hit by a team car when he tried to return to the peloton after a bathroom break.


“But Lau is a tough guy and despite some scratches he will be able to start tomorrow.” 


Maassen looks forward to tomorrow, when the peloton will conclude the Volta a Catalunya with a tough stage that leads the pack several times over the famous Montjuïc.


“Tomorrow will be an elimination race. We hope to get in the mix on several areas. We want to bring Wilco back into the top ten and with Stef, we hope to secure the mountain jersey. Hopefully Paul Martens can get in the mix for the stage victory.” 



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