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"My contract is expiring at the end of the year, so this is good. In the first two years I won little so it's important to show myself."

Photo: Sirotti

ANDREA GUARDINI

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ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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TOUR OF OMAN

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17.02.2015 @ 16:17 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After three second places and a third place, Andrea Guardini finally won his first race of the year when he emerged as the fastest on the first stage of the Tour of Oman. As his contract will expire at the end of the year, he hopes that the win will help him extend his time as a WorldTour rider.

 

"Lutsenko pulled the whole team to the front before the final hill, and that put me in the perfect spot for the last turn," he said.

 

Guardini won a slightly uphill mass sprint on a hot February day, and crossed the line with arms raised to celebrate his first victory of the 2015 season.

 

"With the headwind and uphill finish, it was perfect for a sprint from behind," he said. "It was good because I was a few wheels back. I took Boonen's wheel and I went full gas in the last 100 metres. The leader's jersey is special, too. I like the first stage, to get the leader's jersey and I hope for more."

 

Alexey Lutsenko finished several minutes back, happy with his teammate's victory. Teammates Borut Bozic and Lieuwe Westra also played a strong role in protecting Guardini for the final sprint.

 

For his victory, Guardini took the leader's red jersey, the green sprint jersey and is now the overall leader in General Classification at the Tour of Oman, with five stages more to go.

 

"My contract is expiring at the end of the year, so this is good. In the first two years I won little so it's important to show myself," Guardini said. "It's the result that I was hoping for already in Qatar, it means more to me than the others, after the second places it shows that I'm in good form.

 

"In the last days of training, I thought, it'd be good to win right away, but I needed to keep calm in case the win didn't come. The win came thanks to the placings I had in Qatar. The teams saw that I could win and gave me a great train. Here the field is high-quality, so it's important to show myself in front."

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