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“For me it was one of the hardest days on the bike of my life! I tried to save as much power the best I could, especially on the climb, and really anytime I could."

Photo: Trek Factory Racing




06.02.2015 @ 21:15 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Etoile de Bessèges returned to a more customary routine Friday. The sun appeared, the winds tamed to a reasonable gale, and the 152.6-kilometer stage three unfolded more or less as it should: a breakaway formed, albeit late in the stage, and was ultimately caught in the final kilometer, leading to an expected mass sprint.


The final gallop to the line was, oh, so close for Giacomo Nizzolo. He was robbed of the victory as Bryan Coquard (Europcar) stormed past in the closing meters. It was bittersweet for Nizzolo, who is still overcoming a frustrating start to the season after a freak winter injury set him back.


“It’s too bad because Coquard passed me in the last 10 meters, even less,” Nizzolo explained shortly after the race had concluded. “I am happy to be back on one side, but to be first is much better than to be second. I don’t want to have a repeat of last year.”



From the start the race was feverish; the combination of a tough Col de Trélys climb (5.2kms) navigated three times, and 75-kilometers of furious racing before a breakaway was allowed its freedom, all made for a punishing day.


“For me it was one of the hardest days on the bike of my life! I tried to save as much power the best I could, especially on the climb, and really anytime I could,” Nizzolo said.“In the end I told the boys, ‘okay, I am here’ and then I just tried to do the sprint the best I could.”


“I think from the start it was a very difficult race,” agreed Trek Factory Racing’s director Alain Gallopin. “We had three big laps with a tough climb and Giacomo was in trouble from the beginning with a lot of the sprinters because it was a big fight - it wasn’t until 75 kilometers the good breakaway went.”


Once the break had established it was Trek Factory Racing taking up the reins. They did the bulk of the work in the chase of the six fugitives, and the catch came as the peloton sped under the red kite.


“We worked with Lotto (Soudal) to control for Giacomo in the finish, and we wanted to try to keep everything like it is before the Chrono (Sunday) since we are in a good situation for the GC with Bob,” continued Gallopin. “Today we worked hard in the chase because tomorrow is an uphill finish and it may not be as good for Giacomo. It was centimeters at the line - very, very close - and that is a pity. But I am happy that he is back,” then added, “It’s cycling, what can we do?”


Tomorrow Etoile de Bessèges continues with the final road stage ahead of what is fast becoming the decisive stage for the GC, a 12-kilometer time trial on Sunday.


Bob Jungels finished safely with the peloton today and resides in 18th place overall (+26”).  Marco Coledan continues to hold onto third (+09”) and with his track pursuit background could prove to be a darkhorse on Sunday. Heading into the final two days the team will continue its dual focus for a stage win and the overall podium. 



With two third places, and today a second, it appears that the trajectory is headed in the right direction, and judging by the dedicated teamwork shown all three days, there would be nothing sweeter than that missing, elusive cherry to the cake.


“I didn’t expect to find my form back this early,” Nizzolo pointed out. “But I still have work to do to get my top shape. I am happy to be there, and of course second is better than third place, but it is still not a win. After the work the team did today, I really wanted to give them a victory. But I think with a little bit of luck we will get there, and then it’s going to be a party for us.”



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