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“It was a really good day for the team “I know the climb because I did this race four years ago so I know that everyone usually attacks early in the final."

Photo: Sirotti


24.09.2016 @ 23:24 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) again proved that he always finishes the Vuelta a Espana in outstanding form when he took his first big classic win in the mountainous Giro dell’Emilia. After a first powerful attack on the famous San Luca climb, he still had Romain Bardet (Ag2r) and Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale) for company but when he kicked again, no one could follow and the Colombian soloed to victory, with Bardet taking second and Uran rounding out the top 3.


We have gathered several reactions.


Patience and experience pays off for Chaves on ’perfect’ day

Two-time Grand Tour podium finisher Esteban Chaves backed up his recent Vuelta a España performance to claim the victory in one-day Italian race Giro dell’Emilia today.


Chaves waited patiently before making a well-timed attack in the final moments of the 213km race to steal the victory at the top of the tough two kilometre San Luca climb.


ORICA-BikeExchange animated much of the day with Vuelta a España stage winner Jens Keukeleire represented in the main breakaway of eight riders, as the rest of the team waited attentively in the peloton protecting Chaves ahead of the final laps.


The Colombian displayed his calm, classy style by powering ahead of the leaders in the final metres to take the victory for the team in his first race back since his podium finish at the Tour of Spain. 


“It was a really good day for the team,” explained Chaves after the win. “I know the climb because I did this race four years ago so I know that everyone usually attacks early in the final.


“I stayed calm and just followed Fabio Aru because his team Astana were working a lot. In the last 500metres when everyone was without fire I tried. 


“It is good that I had the legs to win as the team today was unbelievable. We had Keukeleire in the break and then Jack Haig, Damien Howson and Amets Txurruka put me in good position before the final circuit so it was really good.”


Along with Chaves, sport director Dave McPartland was overjoyed with the victory and praised the whole team for their efforts and commitment through the race.


“Everyone did their job well,” said McPartland. “With Keukeleire in the break we didn’t have to ride at all in the wind and could just look after the key guys and it all went to plan for us today.


“We remained calm all race and we knew Chaves needed to go in final few hundred metres and that exactly what he did.


“It takes a lot of experience to do that, you have to be super calm and patient and he did that perfectly today.”


Bardet: Chaves was simply stronger than me

 ”I am pleased to finish second in the Giro dell’Emilia. It is a beautiful Italian race, very difficult with five climbs of 2km at 11% to the Sanctuary above Bologna," Romain Bardet wrote on his Facebook page. "I am c to still be on the podium seven months after the first of the season at the Tour of Oman. This validates a great season, full of satisfactions. The team was awesome today, both solid and united and Jan Bakelants and Pierre Latour helped me in the finale.  I do not regret having missed the victory because I was up just against one who wasstronger than me. I am now heading to the Tour Lombardy, the last major objective of the season.”


Disappointed Aru attacks too early at Giro dell'Emilia

Fabio Aru was fourth. The good performance of the captain crowned the excellent work of the Astana Pro Team guys who did 99% of the effort to catch the break.


“I’m not completely satisfied with my 4th position here in San Luca," commented Fabio Aru after the finish. "I attacked at the toughest point of the climb, the ‘Orfanelle curve’ but probably it was too early and Chaves was able to overtake me in the flatter par 200 meters from the finish…”


“Anyway, I’m very happy with the great work that all my team mates did for me today and I have really to thank them for this. Looking at the positive side of the medal, I’m confident that we will be able to do good things in the last races of the season next week."


In-form Hivert in the top 10 at Giro dell’Emilia

For Fortuneo-Vital Concept, Eduardo Sepúlveda and Brice Feillu had to deal with punctures in the final circuit which forced them to stop.  Jonathan Hivert was seventh "On a circuit like this one, the physical form takes over from the strategy,” sports director Denis Leproux says.


Elie Gesbert, stagiaire of the team, gave his impressions:


"We knew this race was going to be long and grueling. The early break took time to get formed which proves the difficulty. After discovering the Italian races this season, I can say that this one was the hardest. Anyway, I did what I could.”


Ulissi: I tried to do the climb at my own pace

Diego Ulissi finished inin the top 10 of the Giro dell'Emilia. LAMPRE-MERIDA's captain battled until the final 1000 meters, surrendering to an impressive Chaves. Ulissi was 8th at 14".


"Thanks to the work of my teammates, I arrived on the final circuit with lots of enegery,” said Ulissi. “I tried to deal with San Luca at a steady pace as the final ascent is a tricky climb. You are likely to blow up if you do not gauge your effort, so when the pure climbers accelerated in the last kilometer, I tried to maintain a constant speed. A very good Chaves took the win.”


Anton back in the top 10 at Giro dell’Emilia

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s best placed finisher was Igor Anton, who lighted up the attacks on the finishing climb, but had to settle for 10th. Anton was all up there, trying to play his card. He attacked with Jan Bakelants (Ag2R), their move was countered though and Fabio Aru (Astana) was the next to give it a go. In the end though, it was Chaves who made the decisive move. In what was a finale of some of the pelotons finest climbers Anton eventually nabbed a top10 finish.


Sports director Oli Cookson said:


“It was a very hard race. Unfortunately, Steve Cummings still didn’t feel 100 percent after his crash at the Giro della Toscana. He ended up riding only to the feedzone, still having objectives further down the line. So we concentrated all our efforts on Igor and Serge Pauwels. The team did a really good job helping them onto the final circuits. In the end it just came down on who had the better legs. Igor didn’t feel great earlier on but he found his mojo during the later stages of the race. We focused on him and he managed to give it a go in the end. This move was countered but Igor still came home in 10th, which is good.”


Frank Schleck takes over on bad day for Mollema

Fränk Schleck was the last man standing for Trek-Segafredo in a demanding Giro dell'Emilia Saturday, a race jammed full of grueling uphills and suited strictly to climbers.


By the time the peloton had started the final four local circuits with 39 kilometers to go in the 213-kilometer race, the attrition was massive. Bauke Mollema and Fränk Schleck were the only ones remaining for the team, and the eight-man breakaway also began to unravel on the first ascent of the grueling San Luca climb (2.1km, 10%, max. 18%).


With four more times up the dreaded uphill, situated at the end of a 9.3-kilometer lap, the race was down to approximately 45 riders. Two survivors from the breakaway stubbornly held a two-minute gap, but by the start of the final climb, their lead was a mere 14 seconds.


Mollema lost contact in the last laps, leaving Schleck to battle alone in the full-on race to the bottom of the two-kilometer upward pitch to the line. The big blows came in the final 1000 meters, first by Fabio Aru (Astana), then by Esteban Chaves (Orica BikeExchange), whose attack proved to be the winning move. 


Schleck, better attuned to long mountain ascents, crossed the line in 15th place. It was not the result Trek-Segafredo was gunning for, but with Mollema not on his best day in a race that saw only 66 finishers from almost 200 starters, it was a solid performance.


"It was not an easy day, and of course Bauke was our man today, but that doesn't always go according to the plan, and Bauke did not have the legs," explained Schleck. "For myself, at the end, in the first group, I felt okay but made a mistake in the last climb. It took all I had just to move to the front, and in the last kilometer, I was a little bit short. But I am quite happy, I am satisfied with my shape, and looking forward to the next races, the final races of my career."


Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), in second, and Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac), third, rounded out the podium.


Tomorrow Trek-Segafredo will line up in GP Bruno Beghelli with the same roster, less Bauke Mollema, a race that includes another nasty climb in the finish circuits, but is more likely to end in a reduced bunch sprint.


Aggressive De Marchi close to victory at Giro dell’Emilia

Alessandro De Marchi showed his form in a solid display of racing at the Giro dell’Emilia where he made the breakaway and came close to taking the win, caught just 2km before the line.


De Marchi was one of eight riders who eventually escaped after over an hour of racing and went on to build a decent lead of almost five minutes which the group maintained for much of the stage.


As the chase from the peloton heated up De Marchi broke away from the group with two other riders and forged on ahead on the five circuit laps. With two of the five laps remaining it was De Marchi and Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale) who were the leading duo and held a 55-second advantage with one lap remaining.


A small group behind, with Darwin Atapuma and Ben Hermans, proved too strong and the race came back together with 2km to go. Estaban Chaves (Orica-BikeExhange) was the strongest on the day and edged out Romain Bardert (AG2R La Mondiale) and Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cyclign Team) for the win.


BMC Racing Team continues the one-day races in Italy with GP Bruno Beghelli on Sunday.


Alessandro De Marchi said:


“Today at the start I was looking for some good feelings as I have not raced much lately. So it was good to get into the breakaway and when we reached the final 50km I started to think that there was a small chance to reach the final. I’m quite happy with my ride, but it’s already the second race this year that I’ve been really close to winning, so I’m also disappointed as I need something to give me some sense of this season personally.”


Max Sciandri, Sports Director, added:


“The plan today for the 99th edition of the Giro dell’Emilia was keep an eye on early breakaways of bigger groups, not just three riders, and we had a couple of guys on the lookout. Manuel Senni jumped in our but was caught and finally after around 55-60km of racing a group of eight riders went with Alessandro De Marchi. There were some good guys in there so it was a perfect move. The gap went up to around five, five and a half minutes but there were a lot of teams chasing. Then we got to the final circuit of fives laps, a tough circuit with an uphill finish and up to 18 percent in some points.


“On the last two laps it was just De Marchi and Latour ahead but they got caught on the last 2.2km climb up to the finish. In the group that caught them we had Darwin Atapuma and Ben Hermans but they weren’t able to make it in to the top ten. I’m still pretty happy with the race and it is good to get that race out of the way and look to the next one-day races in the coming days.”


Puncture takes in-form Visconti out of contention at Giro dell’Emilia

In their second race of the day, the Giro dell'Emilia (213km) with its five climbs of the grueling San Luca climb, the Movistar Team worked to protect Giovanni Visconti in search for a success that again neglected him. As described by the Italian veteran, a puncture on the penultimate descent took him out of the lead group and forced him to unfruitfully pursue the line of team cars, ultimately finishing in 29th spot at 1'50" from Esteban Chaves (OBE). The other man from the Blues to complete the race was an in-form Richard Carapaz, on the front until the second-to-last lap (47th, 4'53" down).


Tough day for Bora sprinters at Giro dell’Emilia

It was a tough day for BORA – ARGON 18. The team with several fast men in their rows tried to support Benedetti and Voss. The Italian delivered a solid performance and was the best BORA – ARGON 18 rider today. With the fast men, especially Sam Bennett, another top result is within reach in the upcoming races.


“It was a really hard race today. The last laps up to San Luca were something for climbers. We knew already in the morning that we have only two riders in our line-up, who were able to make a good result today. CeCe delivered a good performance and was ahead of some really good climbers. The next races will be more interesting for our sprinters. They are all in a good shape now,” said sports director André Schulze.



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