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“We were thinking that this gap could be closed, but at the end they made it. We tried to do the sprint with Marco, but he had no legs. So I tried to do my best to the very end.”

Photo: Trek Factory Racing








20.01.2015 @ 13:07 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Trek Factory Racing eases back into its first WorldTour race as the breakaway steals the show.

The 132.6-kilometer opening stage of the Santos Tour Down Under, designed for a bunch sprint finish, went against the grain with an early four-man break holding off the fast approaching peloton to duke out a thrilling ending.


Former ProTeam cyclist Jack Bobridge (UniSA-Australia) outkicked his three breakaway compatriots to pinch the victory, while the top sprinters, nipping at the heels of the quartet, were left with nothing more than a gallop for fifth place.


Trek Factory Racing’s game plan was little different than most: get over Checker Hill (1.7kms and 8%), assess the damage, and set up for the sprint finish.


However, with Giacomo Nizzolo behind in form (a result of a freak non-training ankle sprain in early December) and Marco Coledan not having the legs at the end, it was Eugenio Alafaci who sprinted to the highest place in 14th.


"It was the first real race today, and super fast from the beginning because the breakaway was four very strong riders; we never went easy as a result," Alafaci said.


“At the end it was full gas up the climb, and the breakaway only had 20 seconds at the top,” continued Alafaci. “We were thinking that this gap could be closed, but at the end they made it. We tried to do the sprint with Marco, but he had no legs. So I tried to do my best to the very end.”


Checker Hill zapped many early-season legs and dented the breakaway’s lead, but the twisting, technical descent abetted the foursome. On the fast run-in to the finish, they doubled the time gap from 20 to 40 seconds and gave the peloton nothing but scraps to fight for.


"I think it more or less finished like we expected. We hoped Marco (Coledan) could have the legs for a sprint…what today showed is that it will be a difficult week," sports director Kim Andersen said.


Jack Bobridge will don the first ochre leader’s jersey as the Tour Down Under continues with a 150.5-kilometer stage two tomorrow.



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