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"I think I'll be part of the TTT Worlds team and then I'll wait for the national coach to call on me for either the TT or the road race in Ponferrada. Let's hope I get selected - I'm excited to be there, even more since...

Photo: Movistar






29.08.2014 @ 23:23 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

For the second year in a row, Jesus Herrada won the final stage of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes when he showed surprisingluy strong sprinting skills to win a bunch sprint. The Spaniard now hopes that the performance will help him get selected for the World Championships.


Three identical sprints which have made a city become synonymous of success. The Movistar Team has claimed yet another victory in Poitiers, the capital city of the Poitou-Charentes and final venue of its regional bike race, thanks to Jesús Herrada,who completed the telephone squad's strong gamble by a short margin after much trying. By only half a wheel against Belgian Jan Bakelants (OPQ), the Spaniard claimed his second victory in 2014 and the 33rd for the Blues, now just three short of the record high from 1998 (36).


The attacks by the group directed by José Luis Jaimerena - which started and ended the day with two riders, Dowsett (7th) and Herrada himself (9th, best u25) in the GC's top-ten, dominated by Sylvain Chavanel (IAM) - started as the bunch tackled the lumpy, decisive circuit around the climb of Buxerolles (500m at 11%). An initial move by Pablo Lastras was followed by an acceleration from Jasha Sütterlin, who passed the day's break, later went solo and was eventually caught by Italian Nicola Boem (BAR), with whom he rode up-front until a short field including Herrada caught the duo with 3k remaining.


With no big sprinters left in the group after they were caught, Herrada saved his last big of energy until the finish and managed - differently from his long breakaway in 2013 - to outsprint the bunch and claim a more-than-deserved 5th pro success - Spanish road race champion ('13), stages in Asturias ('12) and the Route du Sud ('14).


"It's a well-deserved victory after everything we did during the whole week," he said. "The other day we came close with Sanz, and almost in every stage we've been in the top ten. When we got to the circuit today, we tried it one by one: Lastras was first off; then Dowsett; after him, myself; and at the end, it was Sütterlin who escaped. We only caught him at the end of the last climb.


"I knew I had to keep full focus at that point, it was going to split, and we were just fifteen left. I hadn't won this way as a pro yet, but I know I'm a fast guy into smalle field sprints and I was confident I could take this one, especially since I knew the finish after winning last year.


"The bunch eventually caught us and Hushovd could take the last turn first, but he crashed. In that moment, I didn't hesitate: I launched my sprint, just like last year, and even though it was a close one, I could hold on and win.


"I came to this race to win a stage like last year. I managed to do that. I found myself in front in the last turn. It was at this time that I started my sprint. I gave everything. 


"Winning twice, it's huge. I am very happy. Last year, it was different because I had been on the attack from kilometer 0 and I could stay away with a few other riders. This was not the same thing today as I won a good bunch sprint. 


"It's true that we could play the card of Enrique Sanz in the sprint as I had said this morning. But I think there was a crash 3km from the finish. And then, the bunch was very stretched in the last kilometer. Enrique found himself far back. I was better placed than him so I played my card. 


"It's very rare for me to win in such a big bunch. I'm more comfortable in sprints from small groups. But I felt really good today so I tried everything. 


"Having already know the circuit was very important, because I knew I had to be positioned at the entrance of the circuit. I knew it was going to be very difficult to move up on the circuit. I was very attentive to stay in the top fifteen all the time. It is true that I go a bit into the history of this stage by winning twice.


"It's a good way to complete a great season for me. Albasini beat me in Romandie but that grudge I held was off today. That win in the Route du Sud and especially my performance in the Tour, despite being a debutant - I think I must be happy.


"I'll be racing in Plouay on Sunday, then the Canadian classics. I think I'll be part of the TTT Worlds team and then I'll wait for the national coach to call on me for either the TT or the road race in Ponferrada. Let's hope I get selected - I'm excited to be there, even more since it's ridden in our home country."



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