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“Robert attacked with a few laps to go, but he was brought back. Overall, we are are happy with the result. The team was good, the focus was to be top 10, and maybe if Robert did not lose time in the first hilltop finish he would of p...

Photo: Trek Factory Racing








31.03.2014 @ 22:04 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sitting in 10th overall, Robert Kiserlovski had no intentions of settling for a top 10 place in the Volta a Catalunya. In the difficult and rain-soaked final stage, the Croatian went on the attack and briefly put Katusha and overall leader Joaquim Rodriguez under pressure.


A 13-rider breakaway formed soon after the 120.7-kilometer final stage rolled out, and Trek Factory Racing’s Femi Beppu was part of the move. The race concluded on eight circuits around Montjuic Park in Barcelona with a third category climb each lap, and coupled with the brutal weather resulted in the unraveling of the 13 leaders.


“Fumi [Beppu] was in the breakaway from the beginning but he was not able to follow the stronger riders,” explained director Alain Gallopin. “With only four riders we needed to be attentive to Robert today, and having Beppu in front was perfect. It is too bad he could not follow, but it made it easier for the team that he was there; we had no obligation to chase.”


With four laps to go Lieuwe Westra (Astana) launched the winning attack from the break, and with the rain pelting down he soloed to a well-earned victory. Behind, Marcus Burghardt (BMC) and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) would sprint in for second and third place over a minute later, as most of the breakaway would be absorbed; only two others succeeded to hold off the peloton by the finish line.


In a tense moment Robert Kiserlovski came down in a crash with Chris Froome (Team Sky) around 60 kilometers in, but with a quick bike change was able to remount and continue. 


“Robert was in the crash with Froome and there are no transponders on the spare bikes so both were missing in the first results,” continued Gallopin. “We quickly sorted that out with the jury. The overall did not change.”


As the five leaders of the original breakaway were battling the stage placings, behind the GC contenders fought it out for the final overall podium. On the final ascent Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) - only four seconds behind race leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) - made one last effort for the race win, but an attentive Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Rodriguez were quick to respond.


In the end, a large group sprinted in for sixth place and the top GC remained unchanged: Rodriguez successfully defended his slim margin to win the Volta a Catalunya.


“Robert attacked with a few laps to go, but he was brought back. Overall, we are are happy with the result. The team was good, the focus was to be top 10, and maybe if Robert did not lose time in the first hilltop finish he would have placed higher. But after that he rode very strong," concluded Gallopin.



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