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"It's nice to win so early in the year. It allows you to be more relaxed. Today, there was success. The legs were good. There is still much work to do to be in good condition for future goals. But it is a g...

Photo: Lotto Soudal






07.02.2015 @ 19:58 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tony Gallopin continued the memorable week for Lotto Soudal in France when he won the fourth stage of the Etoile de Besseges. The Frenchman benefited from strong teamwork throughout the entire stage before he beat Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) and Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen) in the uphill sprint, with the latter extending his overall lead due to bonus seconds.


Last Sunday Lotto Soudal won the first race of the 2015 season when Pim Ligthart emerged as the strongest in the sprint at the GP La Marseillaise. Since then the team has been almost unstoppable after the same 8 riders have continued to dominate the first stage race in Europe, Etoile de Besseges.


Last Wednesday, Kris Boeckmans won a very windy opening stage and after the team had come up short the next two days and lost the leader’s jersey yesterday, they were back on top in today’s final road stage of the race. Tour de France hero Tony Gallopin underlined that he has flair for uphill sprints when he beat Christophe Laporte and Edward Theuns to take the third win in less than a week for the Belgian team.


"The breakaway of eight riders did well," he told Directvelo. "When you know that Thomas (Voeckler) is in a breakaway, everyone is a bit nervous in the bunch. You never know what to expect. 


"With the wind, we tried to blow the race apart three laps from the finish. We rode on the front a bit but it was not enough to do any damage. So we staked everything on the sprint. This is the type of finish that I like. I finished third here last year. 


"Today, the team has been great. You had to be well organized in the final because of the wind. We took control five kilometers from the finish and never let go. There was headwind before the red flame. Everyone on the team had his role, it was great. Pim Ligthart was the last lead-out man. 


"It's nice to win so early in the year. It allows you to be more relaxed. Today, there was success. The legs were good. There is still much work to do to be in good condition for future goals. But it is a good sign. We worked well this winter. The team was serious. We won the Grand Prix La Marseillaise, so it allowed us to arrive at the Etoile de Bessèges without pressure. Everyone gets his chance, you work one day for one rider and one the next day for another. Everything is going well. 


"The first goal is Paris-Nice. It's always a big race. Next it will be one-day races like Milan-San Remo, Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. This is the first time I wins this early in the season. As the years pass, the easier it is to get fit. It is a reward for me but also for the team. 


"For tomorrow's time trial, there are riders like Bob Jungels, not to mention Edward Theuns who has a big advantage. There is also Cyril Gautier. The 10 second time bonus will do me good. I will do the time trial 100%. If I don't win, it's not serious, but I will try to do the best possible."



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