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“I’m really happy with this win and, honestly, also surprised: I didn’t think my form was so good."

Photo: Sirotti


19.08.2016 @ 00:23 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After a difficult start to the second part of the season, Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani) proved that he is back on track for a great end to the year when he powered to victory in the queen stage at the Tour du Limousin. After a late attack from race leader Joey Rosskopf (BMC) had failed, the Italian was in a class of his own in the uphill sprint where he easily beat Jesus Herrada (Movistar) and Carlos Barbero (Caja Rural). Rosskopf retained the lead on the eve of the final stage.


We have gathered a few reactions.


Surprised Sonny Colbrelli: I didn’t know that my form was so good

Sonny Colbrelli and Bardiani-CSF haven’t lost their feeling with Tour du Limousin. After last year’s exploit - one stage win and the final classification - and yesterday’s second place, the leader of #GreenTeam claimed stage 3, behind Herrada (Movistar) and Barbero (Caja Rural).


“I’m really happy with this win and, honestly, also surprised: I didn’t think my form was so good,” said Colbrelli. “The last two months were not easy. I suffered a crash during the last stage of the Giro, then pneumonia and, at the end, a Tour de Pologne with ups and downs. Before the start of Tour du Limousin I didn’t know what to expect. Today’s win is a pleasing confirmation, but also the starting point. I know my condition can improve and I aim for a great final part of the season, especially in the most important races, like Bretagne Classic, and in the Italian events. I want to target new satisfactions and to give  the team other successes.”


Commenting on the race, Colbrelli highlights how hard the finale was:


“I had good advantage passing the finish line but, besides the good form, I needed good timing. I kept the front of the race waiting the right moment to sprint. Herrada tried to surprise the peloton, I followed him and then, with 300 meters to go, I attacked. It was a pretty good win and I want to thank my teammates for the amazing job they did by closing the gap to the breakaway and supporting me in the final kilometers.


"It was a difficult stage because the average speed was very high and then the final was very fast and my team led me well to the sprint. It was very fast and tough and very high speed in the last kilometer . This is an important victory for the final classification because there is another stage that will be very fast.


"Yesterday, I lost by nothing so I really wanted to win today. We suffered because the escape took time to form and we rode hard. Behind, we worked with BMC to catch them. Until the red kite, my teammates have worked perfectly. I still had to do a big sprint to reward them.


Colbrelli, 5th in GC at 11”, dreams about another win in the final classification: “It won’t be easy, but I want to try. Last year in Limoges I was second. If I play my chances in intermediate and final sprints, I can do it.


“I am back in GC contention but as I missed the breakaway on Tiesday, it will be difficult to win. I will give the maximum, have a good day and then we'll see. "


Colbrelli has taken his second success in the season after GP di Lugano and the 11th in his career. For Bardiani-CSF, the win tally in 2016 is now on seven.


Jesus Herrada and Marc Soler close to victory in Limousin

The Movistar Team displayed again their courage all over the most demanding stage of the 49th Tour du Limousin. Stage three of the race in central France, a 180km trek between Loncaz and Liginiac, saw the squad directed by José Luis Jaimerena never leaving the front of the race for a single meter, after Marc Soler drove the pace in an excellent breakaway which almost brought glory to Eusebio Unzué's ranks.


Following a furious, opening 60km, with Carapaz and other Blues seeking the break of the day, Soler made an eight-man group which was never allowed more than three minutes over a selected peloton led by GC leader Joey Rosskopf's BMC team. The red train started to push hard in the final loop around the finish, as Soler started making his rivals struggle: two consecutive attacks, the latter one on the decisive climb of Roche-le-Peyroux (Cat-3), got him into a solo adventure caught just 3km from the finishing line.


In the final sprint, Jesús Herrada was only beaten by Sonny Colbrelli (BAR), the man whom he contested overall victory in 2015. The allrounder from Cuenca will have a final chance tomorrow in another lumpy circuit in Limoges (185km).


Young Caja Rural talent close to winning white jersey in Limousin

Diego Rubio (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) is the best young rider.


"The day was exhausting and fast,” he told Directvelo. “The peloton worked well to catch break as Marc Soler was very dangerous. My team have worked well in the final. They managed to position Carlos Barbero who finished third. I was content to stay in the wheels and not lose time because I was not feeling well. Tomorrow we will give everything to win the stage with Carlos and keep my white jersey.”

Aggressive Roubaix riders targets more breakaways in Limousin

Julien Antomarchi (Roubaix Lille Métropole Européenne de) was the most aggressive rider.


"I spent the day in front and it is a pity that we could not stay away to go for the stage win,” he told Directvelo. “We managed our effort but the peloton never let us get more than three minutes. We needed a bigger advantage to go for the win. We lacked the ability to accelerate in the final. With bonus seconds at the finish, everyone wants to finish in the top three overall, so it's complicated. I hope to be in the break tomorrow. That’s the only thing I can do.”

Joey Rosskopf: We knew from the start that it would be close

BMC Racing Team’s Joey Rosskopf finished safely with the main General Classification group on Tour du Limousin Stage 3 to successfully defend his overall lead going into the tomorrow’s decisive final day of racing.


It was a hard and fast start to the day with the peloton strung out across the road at they worked hard to mark attack after attack.


It wasn’t until over 1 hour 30 minutes of racing that an eight-rider breakaway was able to establish a lead but the peloton never lost control of the race, keeping the time gap to within 2 minutes 20 seconds.


The remaining breakaway riders were caught by the main General Classification group with three kilometers to go before a technical final section saw Rosskopf cross the line in tenth position behind stage winner, Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF).


Joey Rosskopf said:


“It was a super hard stage today. The biggest climb of the race was only 25 kilometres into the stage and we really had to race hard up it and in fact the whole peloton split apart at that point. It wasn't until after an hour and half that the stage was really set up with a strong group of guys up the front.


“The team had to work super hard but they kept the gap around within reach all day as we didn’t want to give them too much time. Everyone rode fantastic again and it is really humbling that they are riding like this for me. I did my best to stay up there in the last section of the race when the attacks from the GC group started. It was quite a technical finish and it was super fast from the top of the final climb to the line with small roads, like everywhere around here, and a lot of turns. It was mayhem.


“The podium is definitely something I’m looking towards, it’s still really close at the top of the GC but the the team is riding amazing and so we are really going to go for it tomorrow.


"The team again surrounded me well but the stage was exhausting. I still feel pretty good, the shape is there even if fatigue is beginning to emerge. With narrow roads and terrain, it is not easy to control. On Friday, it will be really difficult because all my teammates are starting to feel tired. But I remain confident, because we have 7 of the best guys in the race. I stay relaxed, calm. Colbrelli? We knew from the start that it would be decided by bonus second for the sprinters. Let's see tomorrow.”


Sports Director, Jackson Stewart said:


“It was a really hard day. We started out with wet roads and there were a lot of attacks and a lot of teams who wanted to attack. Plus we had bigger climbs than the previous days so all our guys had to work hard to keep it together. Eventually the breakaway went away which was good and then we rode hard all day. In the end some other teams wanted to help and put a few guys up front and we we able to bring back the breakaway. We lost a little bit of time on the line today due to the time bonuses so it will be difficult to defend the jersey tomorrow but we will definitely look at the stage and give it everything.”


Auber 93 rider defends mountains jersey in Limousin

Flavien Dassonville (HP BTP-Auber 93) defended the mountains jersey.


"Today, I paid the price for my first two days in a breakaway,” he told Directvelo. “I was mathematically assured of keeping the jersey so I decided to save myself. On the last climb, I was droppe done kilometre from the summit. It's infuriating, because I lost my tenth place overall. On the other hand, Theo Vimpère remains up there. Tomorrow, I hope to be in the break and score points but it will depend on my recovery."

Rafal Majka’s attack unrewarded in ’too easy’ queen satge

The latter two stages of the Tour du Limousin were set to be the tougher days of the race, and stage 3 proved a test for all the riders, as well as Rafal Majka who put in a big effort late in the race but eventually finished in the front group. Majka tried to go clear on the final climb of the day but the gradients weren’t enough to make the difference before the finish.


Finishing in 22nd place, Majka was also joined by young stagiaire Davide Ballerini in the select front group until late in the race, with the Italian taking 48th place on the day, 1'16" behind the lead group.


After the stage, Sport Director Tristan Hoffman gave a run-down of the stage.


“Rafa tried in the final today on the fourth category climb but it wasn’t hard enough for him to make a difference. Again, it was a hard, fast race today, with a big fight early on. It was good to see Ballerini up in the front group with Rafa until late on, and he and the others gave their all again.”


The first 30km of the race was constant attacks, with little being allowed to break clear. The Tinkoff guys were on the look out for the breakaway, and Pavel Brutt came closest, helping force a strong seven rider move that gained 30 seconds, before being reeled back in by the chasing peloton.


Having tried to break clear before the finish, Majka didn’t have anything for the final sprint and came over the line in the lead group that fought out the stage victory.


“The parcours is always up and down here, on small roads and when its hard the bunch gets really strung out, with lots of people getting dropped,” Hoffman continued. “Erik Baška was suffering from cramps today and had to stop. Tomorrow we have another tough day, on a circuit – we’ll try again for the early break but it’s not easy here. Then when it comes to the final we’ll try again with Rafa and see what he can do. He’s still really motivated so we’ll try again on the last stage.”



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