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“It may look a bit weird that we all finished around each other but we were all really at the same level today. None of us quite had the power to go with Cancellara and the others at the end but we were amongst the strongest in the ra...

Photo: Team Giant-Shimano








09.03.2014 @ 11:07 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Team Giant-Shimano were the big surprise in yesterday's Strade Bianche when the team mostly known for its sprinter put four riders in the 22-rider group that emerged after the hardest gravel sectors. In the end, the team lacked the power to go for the win but it was a great collective performance by the young team.


At the end of a tough day out on the gravel roads of Tuscany, Warren Barguil and Simon Geschke finished eighth and tenth respectively at Strade Bianche.


The sun may have been shining, but the undulating parcours were still as tough and leg-sapping as ever, gradually taking their toll on the peloton over the course of the 197km route.


The first decisive move of the race came when 25 riders grouped at the front of the race after the penultimate gravel section. In this group, Team Giant-Shimano had an impressive four riders present – Warren Barguil, Tom Dumoulin, Simon Geschke and Georg Preidler.


This front group  splintered on the final section and two riders pulled clear, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQS) and they quickly built up enough of a lead to fight out the finish between themselves on the final slopes up to Siena.


Kwiatkowski proved strongest at the end of a pure race of attrition, and not far behind him Barguil came across the line in eighth with Geschke just behind him again.


“We saw a really strong team race from the guys today,” said coach Aike Visbeek. “We had four riders in the front 25 at the decisive point of the race. This group was whittled down to just 17 but our guys were all tired and couldn’t bring back the leaders.


“The communication was good and it was good to see them chase as no one else gave it a go. The initial plan was to see how many guys we could get into the final group and then see who was freshest as to who we rode for. The guys didn’t quite have the legs at the end but I am proud of their performance today.


“I have to mention the equipment today too. It was superb, we only had one puncture and apart from that it was spot on. The hard work by Vittoria on the new tyres was definitely worth it.”


Back on the team bus, 10th place finisher Simon Geschke said: “It may look a bit weird that we all finished around each other but we were all really at the same level today. None of us quite had the power to go with Cancellara and the others at the end but we were amongst the strongest in the race.


“We worked really well together as a team today and we can be happy with the result. Tomorrow will be a different race [in Roma Maxima]. I really want to finish as high as possible in the front group and the others will be looking to go on the attack on the hills, wut we will see how the race pans out.”


Teammate, Warren Barguil said: “I didn’t feel top top today, but the whole team was strong and to have four in the front group was great. The Vittoria tyres were great out there today on the gravel, holding firm and that gave you a lot of confidence to really go for it. But at the end we just lacked a little in the legs.”



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