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"At the end I'm second, just like last year, but I have to say that Majka deserves this victory. He was consistent and the strongest rider in the race. As a team we did well. We have two guys on the podium."

Photo: Sirotti








09.08.2014 @ 22:01 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

For the second year in a row, Ion Izagirre finished second overall in the Tour de Pologne when he narrowly missed the win by 8 seconds and led home a dominant Movistar performance that saw his teammates Benat Intxausti and Andrey Amador take third and sixth respectively. However, the Basque openly admits that Rafal Majka was the deserved winner of the race.


Solid work throughout the week from the Movistar Team did not find the well-deserved prize in the 71st Tour de Pologne's finale, the easternmost European event of the WorldTour season crowning a local rider after more than a decade's halt: Rafal Majka (TCS). The 25-kilometer individual time trial in and around Krákow - two long straigths, broken by the exit and access to Poland's second biggest city - became 'almost' land for the telephone squad, dreaming for twenty minutes about a stage win by its best specialist Adriano Malori - in his first day in maglia tricolore as Italian champion, lost to Kristof Vandewalle (TFR) by only three seconds - and fighting until the very final meters for the overall triumph, which escaped them by only 8".


Despite the intermediate check not looking good for the Blues' interests - Riblon (ALM) led the way through and threatened the overall podium for both Ion Izagirre and Beñat Intxausti, 6" and 10" back respectively on Majka - the progression by both Movistar Team riders made Ion Izagirre finish in 7th for the day - his brother Gorka was 5th - and added late stress for Majka, who eventually came victorious ahead of the two lads directed by José Luis Jaimerena.


Andrey Amador, 6th in the GC, rounded off a good performance from a Movistar Team that also leaves Poland with the teams' overall victory and increased leadership -1,100 points to 889 from AG2R - in the 2014 UCI WorldTour, which will take the Blues back into competition on Monday with the 10th Eneco Tour.


"I gave everything in this TT," Izagirre said. "It was a fast race and I really went full gas. At the end I'm second, just like last year, but I have to say that Majka deserves this victory. He was consistent and the strongest rider in the race. As a team we did well. We have two guys on the podium and we won the team classification, so it's a race to remember for us.


" The truth is that at first I had a sour taste in my mouth because last year I was second and then it was the same this year. I simply can't get the win. But having analyzed it more, I must recognize that Majka has been the strongest this week and has been unbeatable.


"The time trial went well but I would have preferred it to be faster and flatter because that would have been better for me against Majka. I had good feelings throughout the race and the truth is that I was very close.


"With my experience from last year, I knew that I could use my Tour form in this race which I love and which is very hard. If you look at the podium, you can see that it is made up of people coming from France. Now I will have a week of rest and then we'll see which races I will do, whether it will be the races in Canada or the Tour of Britain which is the second option."


"It was not the best time trial for me because it was so flat - a course with an average speed of more than 50kph - but I knew I was fine and started with the idea of going for the overall win in the Tour," Intxausti said. "I knew it would be hard to beat Majka because he has been very strong but I had to try and have to happy with the result


"After a somewhat irregular Tour hampered by physical problems I had, I knew that the rhythm you get from those three weeks could be good. We wanted to take advantage of it and change my initial schedule. I did Poland instead of Burgos. I knew the course from other years and knew I could do well.


"It was a shame to miss the win by 20m in the first mountain stage and again yesterday because I had a mechanical at a crucial point and could not recover enough to battle against Majka for the win. But we took another podium in a one-week race of the World Tour, the team still leads the rankings and we have to be satisfied. 


"Now I will rest 3 or 4 days and then prepare the final races, where I hope to do well, particularly in Canada, Quebec and Montreal, two hard races where I think I can be in front."



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