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“I have missed a victory all season, so I’m really happy to get the win here today,” said Villella. “The teamwork - all of the teammates and all of the staff - was amazing."

Photo: Unipublic / Graham Watson

CHRISTOPHER JUUL-JENSEN

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

DAVIDE VILLELLA

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

ROBERT POWER

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS
23.10.2016 @ 21:00 Posted by Andy Pedersen

After 14 laps on the circuit of Japan Cup, David Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) triumphed after attacking on the last lap. After getting away from the rest of the group on the steepest climb on the race course, Villella took the victory ahead of Christopher Juul-Jensen (Orica-BikeExchange) and Robert Power (Orica-BikeExchange).

 

We have gathered some of the reactions here.

 

Villella: I have never seen anything like this in my life

A plan perfectly executed by Cannondale-Drapac delivered Davide Villella to his first professional victory at the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race in Utsunomiya on Sunday. Villella attacked on the steepest climb on the final lap of the 14-lap circuit race to solo across the line.

 

“I have missed a victory all season, so I’m really happy to get the win here today,” said Villella. “The teamwork – all of the teammates and all of the staff – was amazing. I want to say a very big thank you for the team that believed in me and helped me all the day. We had a great group here, and I could not do it alone.”

 

Sport director Eric van Lancker had tasked his team of five with putting one man in the early breakaway and keeping the rest of the team around Villella until the Italian would launch what was hoped to be the race-winning move.

 

“We started with one leader in Villella because we knew he has really good shape,” said Van Lancker. “He’s trained well since Lombardia, where he came in fifth place. We wanted to bring him in good condition into the final.”

 

The tough circuit had done damage, and only 25 riders remained in the peloton.

 

“The idea was that Villella would attack on the steep hill just past the finish line at the start of the last lap,” explained Van Lancker. “We wanted him to go full gas from the bottom. He couldn’t wait until the top. Attacking from the bottom would give him a bigger gap.”

 

“When I attacked, I thought: ‘This is how I can win this race’.” said Villella. “I felt sure if I attacked that I could win. I’m in really good shape at the end of my season.”

 

The 25-year-old said the Japanese fans gave him extra motivation on his solo lap.

 

“I love the Japanese fans,” Villella said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. They were crowded on the circuit, and they were so excited. It was really an amazing thing.”

 

Van Lancker expressed pride in his five-rider squad that closed out the season with the win.

 

“Everything was planned, and everything we planned came out the way we planned it,” Van Lancker said. “It’s not often that it happens like this.”

 

“I have to say thank you to the entire team,” he added. “Not everyone is staying in the team for next year, and it’s not always evident that you can make a good team from a group where some are staying and some are leaving. Full credit to all five for doing an incredible job today and all the other days. I saw great teamwork, great cooperation and great morale bring us the win.”

 

Manuele Mori: Villella was simply too strong today

A very good team performance from Lampre-Merida was not enough for obtaining a place on the podium of the Japan Cup 2016, which was won by Villella.

 

The blue-fuchsia-green team is represented in the final top ten by Manuele Mori, 4th at few centimeters from the 3rd place and by Arashiro.

 

"I reached the summit of the ascent at few meters from Villella, I tried to bridge the gap in the donwhill but the leader today was too strong, my congrats to him,” Mori explained. “I would have liked to be at least on the podium to reward all the Japanese fans and the team's sponsors who had given us a warm support, unfortunately I missed this goal for few centimeters.”

 

Javier Megias secured Team Novo Nordisk a top 10 spot

Team Novo Nordisk’s Javier Megias earned a career best at the Japan Cup when he took eighth at Sunday’s race.

 

“I knew the race would come down to the final climb, so I tried to save energy and keep good position throughout the day,” Megias said. “On the final lap, I made the front group of about 20 riders. I was gapped on the final meters of the climb but was able to win the sprint from my group.

 

BMC captain crashed out of the front of the race

The Japan Cup Cycle Road Race marked the end of the 2016 season for five BMC Racing Team riders and saw Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) ride solo to take the win while Joey Rosskopf rounded out the top ten over on the 144.2 kilometer race.

 

A late attack from Villella saw him solo to victory ahead of Orica-BikeExchange teammates, Chris Juul-Jensen (Orica-BikeExchange) and Robert Power (Orica-BikeExchange), who took second and third place respectively.

 

The racing continued on behind the lead group with Rosskopf, who won the sprint prize in yesterday’s criterium, our top-placed rider. He crossed the line to cap off his 2016 season, and bring BMC Racing Team’s weekend of racing in Japan to a close, with a top ten finish.

 

Quotes from the BMC DS Max Sciandri:

 

“It was a pretty straight forward race. The breakaway went pretty early and then it was a fairly steady pace for the peloton for most of the race after that. Unfortunately for us, our leader for this race Fabian crashed on a descent with just 4 laps to go and that forced him out of contention. He was able to get back up on the bike but the speed was so high it was too late to come back.”

 

“We didn’t come into this race with a specific leader so when Fabian said he felt like he wanted to go for it in our morning meeting, the rest of the team was behind him. So the crash changed the dynamics for the team and Rosskopf stepped in but he said his condition wasn’t what he had expected but we are at the end of a long season so we can’t be disappointed.”

 

“This is an intense trip with an early ride with the fans yesterday followed by the criterium and then today’s race on a demanding course which was used in the early 90s for the World Championships. It’s a pretty full on way to end the season but the whole team has enjoyed it and I think we have ridden well on both days.”

 

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