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"Kiry is a team-mate but it is also cool to beat the world champion (laughs)! We trained a lot this winter as a team on the TT bikes and it's already paid off for me."

Photo: Rapha

ANTON VOROBYEV

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BOB JUNGELS

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CCC DEVELOPMENT TEAM

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DECEUNINCK - QUICK-STEP

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EF PRO CYCLING

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ION IZAGIRRE

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JESUS HERRADA

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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KRISTOFFER SKJERPING

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LEOPOLD KÖNIG

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LUIS LEÓN SÁNCHEZ

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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PIERRE ROLLAND

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SYLVESTER SZMYD

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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VOLTA A LA COMUNITAT VALENCIANA

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03.02.2016 @ 20:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Wout Poels (Sky) became a surprise winner of the first major time trial of the year when he emerged as the fastest on the hilly course of the first stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. The Dutchman covered the 16.25km distance in 22.36 which was a massive 15 seconds faster than Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) while world champion Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) had to settle for third in his rainbow debut, 21 seconds off the pace.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Wout Poels after surprise TT win: It’s great to beat the world champion

Wout Poels stormed to an incredible time trial victory and the race lead after the opening stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

 

The Dutchman was one of the first riders into the hilly 16.25-kilometre course and his benchmark time of 22 minutes and 34 seconds held up magnificently during the afternoon.

 

Winning by a margin of 14 seconds over Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Poels inherited the early lead and accompanying yellow jersey in the revamped Valencia stage race.

 

Team-mate and world time trial champion Vasil Kiryienka made it an even more impressive day for Team Sky with the third fastest time, 20 seconds back after negotiating the course and its third category climb. Fastest over the summit, Poels collected the early lead in the mountains classification, as well as the points and combined standings.

 

Poels endured a nervous wait in Oropesa del Mar and saw rival Jon Izagirre (Movistar) crash on an overpass early into his run. Leopold Konig rebounded from a crash while warming up to make it three Team Sky men in the top 10 with eighth spot, 28 seconds back to ensure there are plenty of cards to play heading further into the race. Benat Intxausti began his first race for Team Sky with a strong 13th place.

 

Back at the team hotel Poels told TeamSky.com: "I knew I had good form coming into the race and I was hoping to do a good TT here, but to win is always something completely different. I started really early so I didn't know how it would go.

 

"Kiry is a team-mate but it is also cool to beat the world champion (laughs)! We trained a lot this winter as a team on the TT bikes and it's already paid off for me. I had a really good pace on the flat, the corners went good and there was a really tricky downhill - but I had everything under control so I'm really happy with how it went.

 

"I feel really good. I've come here to do a good GC. It's really nice to start out like this and I hope we can defend the jersey for another four days."

 

After stepping off the podium after claiming the day one team prize, Sport Director Dario Cioni was understandably proud of the performances in Spain.

 

"Wout put in a super ride," he said. "But if you look at it the whole team put in a great performance across the board with four riders in the top 15.

 

"Wout has been doing some really good training over the winter so we expected him to be going well in this race, and part of that was to do a good time trial. Okay maybe no one expected that he could come away with the win - but he's been working hard on the TT bike, getting used to it and clearly performing better. The two climbs were good for his riding style, but to be fair to Wout he was also really strong on the flat, and very quick on the descents. So he put out a good performance across the entire course.

 

"Leo had a crash in the warm-up when he was on the course. He was actually okay in the race but for sure it made a difference in his time. He did well to finish eighth."


Luis Leon Sanchez and Diego Rosa make it a great start for star-studded Astana in Valencia

The first stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, a very technical 16 km ITT with many challenging corners and carachterized by wind guts, was won by Wout Poels, with Astana’s Luis Leon Sanchez second and Diego Rosa fourth.

 

Fabio Aru, in his seasonal debut, did a good race without taking risks on the descents, finishing the stage in 33rd.

 

“It was a very technical and difficult race route” said Luis Leon Sanchez after the finish line. “I’ve tried to do my best and I think it was a good performance, I was just beaten bythe winner.”

 

“I’ve tried to do the TT at my best because I wanted to see what I could do,” explained Diego Rosa who was fourth with almost the same time as the ITT World Champion Kyrienka,” so I finished 22 seconds from the winner and I think I can be happy with this result.”

 

Movistar captain Ion Izagirre bounces back from crash in Valencia time trial

Good luck keeps giving the Movistar Team its back as a crash held off one of its members again today at the opening stage of the reborn Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, a 16.6km ITT from Benicássim to Oropesa del Mar. While managing his way through one of the most technical sections of the windy, lumpy course, Ion Izagirre, one of the GC hopes for the telephone squad, crashed on his right-hand side and against a barrier outside a turn.

 

"I was raring to go, willing to do well, felt strong after the first few km but I might have gone too fast through that corner, crashed and saw all my chances going away." With "bruises all over my right-hand side, especially my hip and leg," as well as some lost time, the Ormaiztegi-born rider bounced back strong and finished only 37" behind Wout Poels (SKY), who seized the first leader's jersey.

 

"To be fair, I got back into racing pace quickly and felt well at the end, though I was a bit scared in the downhill sections and the turns, I wasn't riding confidently. Fortunately, these are all minor issues, and I hope to rest well tonight and feel recovered tomorrow. It's a beautiful race and it has just started: we've got a strong team and we hope to do well this week." 

 

Incidents aside, the Movistar Team was able to have five of its team into the day's top 20, with a fine Jesús Herrada in fifth spot - 26" off Poels' pace -, Imanol Erviti in tenth, Javi Moreno in 11th and José Herrada and Izagirre taking places sixteen and eighteen, respectively.

 

The Volta will stay in the province of Castellón on Thursday as it tackles the first of two mountain finishes in Fredes (Cat-1): 15km at 4.5% average, with maximum points of 12%, taking to its end a 163km journey up from Castellón de la Plana.

 

Crash prevents new LottoNL-Jumbo signing from finishing on the podium in Valencia

Victor Campenaerts finished sixth in the opening time trial of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana today. The Belgian Team LottoNL-Jumbo cyclist crashed after five kilometres, but continued his time trial quickly to only lose 26 seconds to victor Wout Poels (Team Sky).

The Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana is the first European race in 2016 for Team LottoNL-Jumbo. The Spanish stage race started on Wednesday with a tough opening time trial of 16.25 kilometres. Campenaerts finished his race in 23-01 minutes.

“Victor delivered a strong time trial,” sports director Merijn Zeeman said. “But he slipped away and fell off his bike in a turn. He continued his race quickly afterwards, though. He performed superbly in the end by finishing sixth. We didn’t expect that anymore because a crash like that costs a lot of time.”

“I wasn’t standing still for more than 27 seconds because of my crash, but it was at least 12 seconds,” Campenaerts added. “I’m 12 seconds behind the second place cyclist, so it could have been a very good result for me. 

“It was a stupid crash. In an easy turn, my front wheel slipped away. It didn’t feel like I was riding too fast in that turn. The asphalt is a little bit more slippery in Spain than it is in Belgium or Holland. My chain came off, but the mechanic helped me back on the road quickly. It took some time to find my rhythm again and I began asking myself about why I should still push myself to my limit. 

“My legs felt great, so I immediately decided to use my frustration for the rest of the time trial. I didn’t expect that my time was going to last as the fastest for such a long time. That I finish sixth in the end is a confirmation of the feelings that I had during my training.”

Koen Bouwman’s time trial was good, as well. He finished at 23-12 minutes and placed 19th. “That’s a good result of him,” Zeeman continued. “He is a neo-professional. He and Alexey Vermeulen will have space to develop and improve themselves during the upcoming days. Tomorrow, there’s already an uphill finish. With world-class riders participating, it will be hard for us. Bouwman, Vermeulen and Campenaerts may ride this race without any pressure.”

 

Tom Boonen back in action in Valencia time trial

Among the last Etixx – Quick-Step riders to roll down the start ramp, Bob Jungels rode strong in his first race of the season and managed to get inside the top 10 at the end of the stage, a nice result considering this was his first day at the office since Clasica San Sebastian. The 23-year-old was 7th at the finish, less than half a minute adrift, with two other teammates concluding the race in the top 20: Yves Lampaert (15th, +0:36) and Niki Terpstra (17th, +0:37). Also riding in Spain was seven-time Monument winner Tom Boonen, who returned to racing after his crash in the Abu Dhabi Tour, last October.

 

"I'm satisfied, but I'm still with questions," Boonen told Sporza. "It's wait and see how I react to a number of consecutive race days."

 

Tom Boonen rode an anonymous opening time trial in the Tour of Valencia and finished 61st

 

"During the first recon, I found it pretty tough, but ultimately it was not that bad. With a time trial bike, you have a smaller margin for error, but it went pretty smoothly.

 

Boonen almost caugh another rider. "Apparently, he had crashed,” he laughed. “No, I have never gone 100% because I did not wanted to crash. Especially on this course with rugged, steep climbs. But that did not happen, so I'm satisfied.

 

"That's the job, but I still have questions about consecutive race days. When I train hard for several days, I have more problems with tinnitus. At the end of this race, I will just see if that is so also in competition.”

 

Administrative error forces CCC Sprandi to change line-up in Spain

In his first race in orange colors, Victor De la Parte clocked 21st place in the opening stage of Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana – an individual time trial. The Spaniard was the top finisher of CCC Sprandi Polkowice. 

 

Mateusz Taciak was the second fastest CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider. He rode to 31st place, 1 minute off the pace. In a last-minute decision, he and Łukasz Owsian replaced Sylwester Szmyd and Felix Großschartner in the team’s line-up. They were not allowed to take part in the race due to the delay of implementing their registration data to the UCI system. They should be eligible to compete in the next UCI event.

 

Former U23 world champion crashes out of contention in Valencia time trial

A late crash prevented Anton Vorobyev from getting a Top-5 result he hoped for in the first European race of the season for Team KATUSHA as Wednesday saw the individual Time Trial take place for stage 1 at the 67th Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. A technical and challenging 16,6 km course from Benicàssim to Oropesa del Mar saw team rider Anton Vorobyev motivated for a good result after struggling through last season.

 

”I was going well but unfortunately I crashed – perhaps my speed was just too high. I saw the motorbike in front of me have some problems on the corner and it looked a little dangerous. I didn’t take into consideration all the risks with the corner and my high speed, so I crashed while the motorbike was able to stay on both wheels. I got back on the bike and kept going,” said Anton Vorobyev, who ended up in 44th place, a few places behind teammate Jhonatan Restrepo (41st place).

 

Last year health problems bothered Vorobyev in the early part of the Giro d’Italia, and when a return to racing came months later at the Tour of Poland, bad luck followed when he suffered a broken rib. He didn’t give up and continued to work for form in the late season, finally finishing tenth on GC in the Tour de l'Eurométropole.  This season he intends to build from there and is highly motivated for an early result.

 

”Of course it’s not good to start the season with a crash – I hope my bad luck from last year is not following me. I look to this season to be a breakthrough. In general I’m happy with my form. I did all of my hard work in the winter and I feel I am ready for the season. Today’s route was quite technical and I took some risks during the race, which caused the crash. I was headed for a good time before that.  But anyway, I hope this race will bring me the rhythm of racing,” Vorobyev concluded.

 

Bad start for Pierre Rolland in Valencia time trial

Pierre Rolland lost lots of time as he was 1.38 off the pace in 76th.

 

“Not easy to start the season with a time trial,” he wrote on Facebook. “A little sick this weekend and still a bit feverish so I am not in top shape. It was a more than technical course with lots of wind gusts (dangerous time trial). A rider in my team also crashed, luckily without any consequences. “Tomorrow it will be the first road stage and summit finish. There is no easy start to this Tour of Valencia. It’s directly a bloc.”

 

His teammate Kristoffer Skjerping crashed.

 

”First race and crash of the season,” he tweeted. “Just a small scratch on my bum. But it takes more to kill a viking, ready for four hard stages!”

 

Jack Bauer, in his return to racing following the 2015 TDF crash that left him with a broken femur, was Cannondale's top finisher in 37th place at 1'03.

 

"It was a very dificult time trial today, and our expectations was realistics," said DS Johnny Weltz. "We knew it was going to be dificult. Our guys here are not excactly specialists in this area."

 

"There is a lot of racing ahead of us with terrain who suits our climbers, so we expect more from the days to come," Weltz added. "

 

"Tomorrow finishes uphill and will be difficult. We're ready to throw all in for the coming stages."

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