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Spaniard takes convincing time trial win ahead of teammate Veloso to dispose race favourite Sousa from the overall lead as the two riders are now set to make it a 1-2 for OFM on GC with just one flat stage coming up

Photo: Velo-art.org

ALEJANDRO MARQUE

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

GUSTAVO CESAR VELOSO

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

RUI SOUSA BARBOSA

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

VOLTA A PORTUGAL

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
17.08.2013 @ 19:52 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It was a big day for OFM team in the decisive time trial of the Volta a Portugal as the team completely dominated the stage by taking a 1-2 with Spaniards Alejandro Marque and Gustavo Cesar Veloso and put 3 riders into the top 5. Race leader Rui Sousa (Efapel) fought as best he could on the flat course but had no chance against his more powerful riders, thus dropping to 3rd as Marque and Veloso are now set to make it a 1-2 on GC with just one flat stage still remaining.

 

OFM had a big day yesterday when Gustavo Cesar Veloso won the queen stage of the Volta a Portugal. Today was even better for the Portuguese team which used the decisive flat 35,3km time trial of the 11-stage race to stamp its authority not only on the stage but also on the general classification.

 

Having done a fabulous job to keep up with the climbers in yesterday's stage, time triallist Alejandro Marque (OFM) had all the cards on his hand, sitting in 4th on GC just 38 seconds behind climber and pre-race favourite Rui Sousa. The powerful Spaniard didn't disappoint on a course that suited him perfectly and he took a convincing win by putting 36 seconds into his nearest rival.

 

That nearest rival was yesterday's winner Veloso who produced a similarly strong ride to finish 2nd. Race leader Sousa - more known as a climber than a time triallist - did the time trial of his life to finish 3rd but against the powerful Spaniards, he had no chance. He lost his overall lead an dropped to 3rd on GC.

 

Instead, the battle for the overall win boiled down to a contest between the two teammates Veloso and Marque. The latter quickly opened up a 30-second on his compatriot but for most of the stage, that advantage remained stable.

 

Veloso had started the stage just 32 seconds ahead of his teammate and so the race came down to a thrilling finale. When Veloso powered over the line in a time that was 36 seconds slower than Marque's, he finds himself in 2nd on GC, 4 seconds behind his teammate after 10 days of racing.

 

The race finishes with a largely ceremonial stage to Viseu tomorrow which finishes with a couple of laps on a flat circuit in the city centre. A bunch sprint is expected and so only bad luck will prevent OFM from sealing a 1-2 in their biggest race of the season.

 

De Rijke with best early times

The 36,3km time trial was dead-flat and suited to the powerful specialists. Due to its length, it was expected to have a major impact on the GC which had until now been dominated by the climbers.

 

Cycling Team De Rijke had lined up a number of time trial specialists who had proved their worth when the Dutch team had taken the win in the team time trial prologue. Hence, it was no surprise to see that the Dutchmen who were all far on GC, dominated the early part of the stage.

 

Bas Stamsnijder disposed Jimmy Engoulvent (Sojasun) who had been the first rider to set a time below the 54-minute mark, from the lead when he set a time of 52.54. He didn't get the chance to enjoy his lead for long though as teammate Dion Beukeboom lowered the mark with 1.20 less than a minute later.

 

Sepulveda new leader

Beukeboom enjoyed a long stay in the hot seat and held off challenges from Jaco Venter (MTN-Qhubeka), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM), Omar Fraile (Caja Rural), Karol Domagalski (Caja Rural) and Carlos Oyearzun (Louletano). Venter was the only of those to finish in a time below the 52-minute mark.

 

Beukeboom was finally beaten when Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne) powered across the line in a time that was 17 seconds faster than the one set by the Dutchman. The Argentinean faced a long wait in the hot seat as he withstood the pressure from a number of time triallists like Domingos Goncalves (Onda), Alfredo Balloni (Ceramica Flaminia), Joni Brandao (Efapel), Alexander Rybakov (Rusvelo), Ignatas Konovalovas (MTN) and Reto Hollenstein (IAM).

 

Fernandez shows OFM's intentions

OFM proved that it had strength in number when previous stage winner Delio Fernandez was the rider who finally lowered the mark set by Sepulveda. At that time, it was, however, already clear that his teammates were on a good ride as the battle for the GC had taken off.

 

Marcel Wyss (IAM) was the first among the GC riders to deliver a good ride and the previous race leader was the first rider to finish in a time below the 51-minute mark. Points leader Edgar Pinto (LA Aluminios) was the next rider to produce a good ride and he ultimately finished 9th to move up to 4th on GC.

 

Marque takes the win

Moments later, Marque powered across the line in a fantastic time of 49.06 and it was now clear that he would go on to win the stage. However, the battle for the GC was extremely close and it would all come down to a matter of seconds.

 

Marque had the upper hand as Veloso ended up losing 36 seconds and so the Spaniard only had to wait for Sousa to cross the line to get confirmation that he would take the lead. When the race leader was only good enough for 3rd, Marque could step onto the podium to receive both stage honours and the leader's jersey.

 

Result:

1. Alejandro Marque 49.06

2. Gustavo Cesar Veloso +0,36

3. Rui Sousa +1.28

4. Marcel Wyss +1.50

5. Delio Fernandez +2.03

6. Eduardo Sepulveda +2.11

7. Dion Beukeboom +2.18

8. Vegard Staeke Laengen +2.29

9. Edgar Pinto 2.30

10. Reto Hollenstein +2.37

 

General classification:

1. Alejandro Marque 40.01.42

2. Gustavo Cesar Veloso +0.04

3. Rui Sousa +0.50

4. Edgar Pinto +2.44

5. Hernani Broco +2.57

6. Daniel Silva +2.59

7. Marcel Wyss +3.14

8. Virgilio Santos +5.23

9. Nuno Ribeiro +6.49

10. Celio Sousa +7.49

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