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"However, with a time loss of 23 seconds on a climb like this, he is far from disgraced but just a bit disappointed. After rediscovering his legs yesterday, he was sort of knocked back to earth today."

Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo

ITZULIA BASQUE COUNTRY

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RAFAL MAJKA

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09.04.2015 @ 22:13 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Rafal Majka conceded seconds to stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez on stage 4 of País Vasco. With the great legs of yesterday failing to materialize on the final climb to Aratte, Majka and Tinkoff-Saxo lost 23 seconds but remains poised ahead of further ordeals in the Basque Country.
 
After the stage conclusion, Tinkoff-Saxo’s sports director Sean Yates explains that there’s no hiding on a parcours like the riders faced on stage 4.
 
“Today was hard. Not just for us but from everybody’s point of view. After Rafal’s performance yesterday, where he showed that he’s capable of fighting for the GC, he didn’t have the best of legs today. However, with a time loss of 23 seconds on a climb like this, he is far from disgraced but just a bit disappointed. After rediscovering his legs yesterday, he was sort of knocked back to earth today”, says Sean Yates, who considers Vuelta a País Vasco as one of the hardest stage races:
 
“Apart from the Grand Tours, País Vasco is one of the most challenging races. There’s no day off and all stages are carried out in mountainous or hilly terrain.  Today, for instance, we did around 43km/h in the mountains for the first two hours and in the end, there were some serious time losses. Our guys supported Rafal throughout the stage and it was up to him to play with the likes of Quintana and Rodriguez while his shape is still a work in progress. But great moral is only going to take you so far in a race like this and if you lack 1%, you get found out and lose time to those who are up 1%”.

Stage 4 of País Vasco featured no less than 7 categorized climbs on the way to the finish line atop Arrate. Here, Joaquim Rodriquez took the win in a 12-man group with Rafal Majka coming in 23 seconds later in 16th place. With yesterday’s show of form fresh in memory and many altitude meters yet to climb, Sean Yates notes that Rafal Majka is still in contention.
 
“Rafal said that he wasn’t in top shape today, but he is still within contention. Maybe tomorrow somebody else can suffer a bad day, however for every 23 seconds you lose, there’s 24 seconds to make up. But there’re plenty of chances to improve Rafal’s position in the GC keeping in mind tomorrow’s summit finish with a gradient in some sections of more than 25 % and a mountain time trial still to come. He will continue to fight to the end of the race, his shape is still improving and the team is ready to support him”, finishes Sean Yates.

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