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“I think I made ​​a step forward here with the team. This year I also trained hard and I'm happy with the result here. It gives me confidence for the future and for the next races." 

Photo: ANSA / DAL ZENNARO - PERI

ASTANA - PREMIER TECH

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BOB JUNGELS

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DANIEL NAVARRO GARCIA

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DAVIDE FORMOLO

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DECEUNINCK - QUICK-STEP

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EF EDUCATION - NIPPO

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ION IZAGIRRE

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JAVIER MORENO BAZAN

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JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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TEAM SKY

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TOM-JELTE SLAGTER

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VOLTA A LA COMUNITAT VALENCIANA

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06.02.2016 @ 21:04 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Wout Poels (Sky) confirmed that he is by far the strongest rider in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana when he crushed the opposition in the queen stage. After Astana had tried to get rid of him, the Dutchman made a powerful attack to put more than 20 seconds into his nearest chasers on the brutally steep Xorret de Cati climb and soloed across the line before Benat Intxausti made it a 1-2 for Team Sky. He also extended his overall lead with just one stage to go.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Dominant Wout Poels: I have taken a step up

Wout Poels emphatically extended his overall race lead at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana with a magnificent solo victory. The race's penultimate stage came down to the tough Xorret de Cati climb and Poels quickly found himself in an elite group of favourites.

 

Yet with three kilometres to go the Dutchman unleashed a stinging acceleration and burst clear, taking the win by 23 seconds and taking a large step closer to overall victory. Benat Intxausti made it a double delight for Team Sky by edging second place at the line, making it a 1-2 as he saw off Jon Izagirre (Movistar) 23 seconds later.

 

The result means Poels heads into the final day of the race with the yellow jersey and a lead of 46 seconds over Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana). A strong finish also moves Intxausti up to third place overall, a further 10 seconds back on his Team Sky stage race debut.

 

After the race Poels told TeamSky.com: "It was really really cool to be riding like that as a team. We controlled the day perfectly and the way the guys rode for me on the final climb was really amazing. To be able to ride like this with the guys was a pleasure.

 

"I felt really strong again. On the last climb everything went perfectly. It was a really steep one so you had to control yourself. David [Lopez] was pulling for me and then Mikel [Nieve] took it over. Then I was with the two Astana boys and they started pacing fast. I was just waiting for the last bit to attack and it worked out perfect.”

 

"The start was really difficult, but with the team we have controlled the situation very well and in the end the break was caught. In the end the team was super as they out me in the positons for the climb, In the last kilometer I attacked with the perfect timing,” he told Cyclingpro.net.

 

“I think I made ​​a step forward here with the team. This year I also trained hard and I'm happy with the result here. It gives me confidence for the future and for the next races." 

 

Now with a handy advantage and one final stage to go Poels knows the situation looks good - but the job is not yet finished.

 

"It looks good but I still need to ride tomorrow and cross that finish line," he added. "For sure we're going to go for it. We're close now and it's really cool."

 

Throughout the 141.3km test Poels had support from his team-mates, with Nicolas Roche and Alex Peters again working hard to keep the day's seven-man break in sight.

 

As the climbs arrived Vasil Kiryienka and then David Lopez set the pace, with Poels glued to their wheels, before Mikel Nieve took it up.

 

Under intense pressure from Astana Poels found himself battling Diego Rosa and Fabio Aru on the climb - but the Dutchman found new reserves to leave both of them standing to take a magnificent victory.

 

Ion Izagirre laments time trial crash after missing podium in Valencia

The Movistar Team riders put both their hearts and energy out for a great result on the biggest day of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, the 143km stage four between Orihuela and Xorret de Catí. The steep slopes of the 4km climb near Alicante witnessed another exhibition from race leader Wout Poels (SKY), while the Laguía/Jaimerena directed group tried to profit from their several guns in the first sheet of the standings.

 

Dayer Quintana responded to an initial acceleration, just over 2km from the top of the ascent, from Astana's Fabio Aru and Diego Rosa, caught by the leader as the Colombian started to fade due to the increasing pace.

 

Bit by bit, two other Blues started to approach the leader group: Javi Moreno (10th at the finish) and most notably Ion Izagirre, who crested together with Aru, Navarro (COF) and Beñat Intxausti (SKY). The two Basques, former team-mates, battled for 2nd place into the sprint, with Intxausti getting the better of Izagirre (3rd).

 

The new overall classification takes Izagirre up to fourth place (+1.01), only five seconds behind the virtual final GC podium - probably secured at this point if it weren't for his crash on stage one - as Javi Moreno sits in fifth, 1.10 behind Poels and fourteen seconds short of the top three places. Jesús Herrada, less used to demanding gradients like today's - yet a notable 12th at the finish, just over a minute adrift -, slips back to eighth, 1.31 back.

 

“Xorret was a short climb, yet a very intense one. It took long before a break could be established, we spent a long way riding fast until then and once it formed, we were already in complicated sections leading up to the finishing climb. The approach to that uphill was difficult, and getting into a good position was crucial; thanks to our team-mates, we got through Castalla well, and on the climb, it was just a matter of everyone riding by himself, to his own limits - Javi, Jesús, Dayer, me. Poels showed to be the strongest - hats off to what he did today,” Ion Izagirre said.

 

"Already since the day after the crash, I didn't feel in pain or lacking any energy from that accident. It was a 'clean' crash; I had some bruises, but it didn't affect my performance during the race. It's sad to be just five seconds off the podium; it would have been a great prize for the whole team, to spend four days - five, with tomorrow's stage - helping us with everything and getting a podium finish in this Volta as a reward. However, all rivals race to win and get good results - we just have to make sure we do better next time."

 

Fabio Aru after aggressive Astana ride in Valencia: It was a good test

“It has been a good test for me today,” explained Fabio Aru at the Xorret de Catì finish. With my teammates we tried to force the situation and I think we did pretty good in the hard final climb.”

 

“Then the race leader demontrated to be stronger than us, but I think we can be satisfied with our performance,” concluded the Italian captain of the Astana Pro Team.

 

On the 20% gradients, Astana Pro Team launched various attacks with Fabio Aru and Diego Rosa. Aru finished 4th at 25 seconds.

 

Astana teammate Leon Sanchez finished 6th at 31 seconds and is now in second position on the GC.

 

Diego Rosa: We tried but Wout Poels was very strong

"It was a climb a bit harder than we expected,” Diego Rosa told CyclingPro.net. "We tried to be there with Aru and me but Poels was really strong. In the end, I cracked while Fabio worked for me and then managed to take fourth. It's fine as well.

 

"The first race goes well. We tried to win the first race but we go home happy because we are on track to start the season well. We believe we have worked well this winter and it looks good for the next races. We will present ourselves with higher expectations.
 

“In Algarve we will ride for Fabio who is the true team leader. Then, as here, if it happens that we are in front with me or Luis Leon Sanchez, it is right that we try to have our say, but the real leader is Fabio. "

 

Daniel Navarro bounces back after disappointing 2015 season

Daniel Navarro took a good fifth place in the queen stage of the Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana.

 

"It was very fast at the beginning of the climb,” he told CyclingPro.net. “On such a hard climb, you have to find your own rhythm. When there was one kilometer left, Poels attacked and we could not respond. Poels was really impressive because he went away easily and in general Sky were impressive.

 

"I have to be happy because the level here is very high and to be fith here in a stage like this is a good result. The season is long and there are many races ahead." 

 

Davide Formolo and Tom-Jelte Slagter show form in Valencia queen stage

Davide Formolo was Cannondale’s top-finisher on the hilly fourth stage of Volta Valenciana. The young Italian climbed to seventh place, 38-seconds down on stage winner (and race leader) Wout Poels (SKY). Tom-Jelte Slagter finished on the same time in ninth place. Before the steep category one climb before the finish, Matti Breschel flew the flag in the early break.

 

DS Johnny Weltz said: "I'm very happy with the team performance today. They were all where they needed to be and Davide and TJ were up with the best climbers in the world. We have some other riders who are a bit further up the road form-wise than others but they all have room to improve. Matti showed good courage moving out front of the race all day. He is on the right track for the spring season."

 

Bob Jungels: I would call it a big explosion

Victorious in stage 2, on Alto de Fredes, Etixx – Quick-Step's Daniel Martin climbed to 13th in the overall classification, just two seconds behind teammate Bob Jungels who suffered on the final climb and ended the stage in 24th.

 

“I would call it a big explosion. My early february legs didn't have any 20%+ climbs on the plan. Last stage & chance tomorrow in @VueltaCV,” Jungels tweeted after the stage.

 

Katusha tries to stay focused in Valencia despite Vorganov positive

Only one day after the unsettling news of the violation of the UCI anti-doping rules from rider Eduard Vorganov, Team Katusha put up a strong effort to re-group and stay focused for stage 4 in the 67th Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and head director José Azevedo vowed to keep riders on task.

 

“It was not easy to deal with the issue of Vorganov. The news yesterday was a big shock for us.  Inside the team everyone is fighting against doping – the sports directors, the general manager, the doctors, the nutritionist. Everyone has advised the riders to not use any substances without first consulting with a doctor. Every product can seem a simple product but they are told to never take anything without talking with a team doctor and without permission from the team. It’s also a rule of the team. When we see a situation like this after all we’ve done, it’s difficult to accept.

 

“Everyone in the team is in shock – how is it possible that one person on the team does not follow the rules? It puts in peril the work and jobs of 70 people. Right now we are intent on continuing our work day-by-day. We know for sure that the team is fighting against doping and we are 100% against the use of prohibited products. Our other riders will continue to work for their goals. We’ve started the season with big ambitions and we will try to stay focused on these goals,” said a clearly frustrated head sports director José Azevedo. 

 

With a difficult climb and quick downhill to the finish line in Xorret del Catí for Saturday’s 141,3km stage, Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodríguez continued to build form and raced near the front group.

 

“This is the kind of stage Purito likes, but it’s early in the season for his condition to be at top form. The team did a good job and kept the routine the same as always. This is important for the young guys who are riding in the front and working to bring Joaquim to the climb in a good position. On the climb he did his maximum and gave it full gas. Of course he’s not quite there yet, but every day he feels better and feels his condition is going in the right way,” concluded Azevedo. 

 

LottoNL-Jumbo youngster tests himself as GC rider in Valencia

Victor Campenaerts lost time in the fourth stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and slipped from 12th place in the overall standings. The stage over the difficult Xorret de Catí climb was won by Wout Poels (Team Sky). The Dutchman strengthened his lead in the overall standings.

The stage was coloured by seven escapees who got away after a long battle. At the foot of the last climb, the steep Xorret de Catí, the seven were caught by the peloton. Victor Campenaerts was well positioned by Tom Leezer and Paul Martens at the foot of the climb but it soon became clear that this is just too much for the time trialist.

 

"We couldn't play a role in the final," said sports director Merijn Zeeman. "Tom and Paul did a good job and positioned Victor well at the foot of the climb. But he lost time. Now he knows where he needs to improve towards the future.”

 

The youngsters of Team LottoNL-Jumbo were instructed today by the team management to be in the front group.

 

"It was a long and especially hard fight today. After 71 kilometers, the lead group rode away. This experience was perfect for Koen Bouwman and Alexey Vermeulen because now they know what it takes to be in a break in a pro-race," Zeeman added. "This is a valuable experience for the youngsters. It was indeed a very hard race today. "

 

Before the stage Victor Campenaerts was 12th in the overall standings. The young time trialist of Team LottoNL-Jumbo wants to develop himself especially for these kind of races.

 

"That was a really tough climb. My day was not as great today. I was fully protected by the team, but from the beginning it was super fast and I had to climb at my highest tempo. But with those top climbers, you simply lose too much time. Tomorrow will be another important day for us. I'm going to focus on that now."

 

"Tomorrow is a relatively flat and short stage, 110 kilometres. Halfway is a climb that we have to survive with Dylan. And then six laps will follow in the centre of Valencia. I expect a bunch sprint," Merijn Zeeman concluded.

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