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"The boys were really strong and in the end the sprint was very close, I didn’t know if I had won when we crossed the line. After the crash in San-Remo its really good to come here and win, to move on.”

Photo: A.S.O.

CAJA RURAL - SEGUROS RGA

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CARLOS BARBERO

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MICHAEL MATTHEWS

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MITCHELTON-SCOTT

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ONE PRO CYCLING

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TEAM NOVO NORDISK

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VUELTA A LA RIOJA

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04.04.2016 @ 00:10 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Michael Matthews got an important confidence boost for next week’s Vuelta al Pais Vasco when he claimed his second win and the third win in a row for his Orica-GreenEDGE team at the Vuelta a la Rioja. After his team had controlled the race all day, he beat Sergey Shilov (Russia) in a photo finish while Carlos Barbero (Caja Rural) completed the podium.

 

We have gathered a few reactions.

 

Victorious Michael Matthews: This was just what I needed after Milan-Sanremo

Michael Matthews has won the 56th Vuelta Ciclista a la Rioja taking the sprint by a whisker after ORICA-GreenEDGE brought back the breakaway in the final ten kilometres of the race.

 

The third victory in three years for ORICA-GreenEDGE and the second for Matthews was made all the more sweeter by the manner in which the team controlled the race. Taking responsibility at the front of the peloton for most of the day, Matthews praised the tireless work of his teammates.

 

“The team were amazing throughout the race today,” said Matthews. “They did a perfect job controlling things and I’m happy I was able to finish it off.

 

“I started my sprint from around 200metres. It was difficult because I got pushed into the barriers and had to go around, luckily I had enough speed to hold on.

 

“We were the only team on the front from start to finish. The boys were really strong and in the end the sprint was very close, I didn’t know if I had won when we crossed the line. After the crash in San-Remo its really good to come here and win, to move on.”

 

Sport director Dave McPartland was happy the team bounced back so well after a frustrating day at the GP Miguel Indurain on Saturday.

 

“Super happy with the win, the whole team were fantastic today,” said McPartland. “Michael (Matthews) did really well to finish it off in the sprint after Cheung (King-Lok) and Mathew (Hayman) did a lot of good work bringing back the breakaway.

 

“We had a race plan that we wanted to stick to and a big part of that was dependent on limiting the advantage of the breakaway. We spoke about the importance of our positioning after missing out in the finale of yesterday’s race, it was great to see the boys put that behind them today.”

 

Carlos Barbero close to first 2016 win in Rioja

"The team did a good job to be in the front positions,” Barbero said. “Matthews got a small gap just before the corner and I had to launch the sprint from there but it was not the most appropriate distance. Once there I had to go to death, and in the end I was third. It is a shame not to win but the team was great and we have fought.”

 

 

Strong performance by ONE Pro Cycling in Rioja

For ONE Pro Cycling, Yanto Barker sprinted from the peloton to claim 7th  place in the 56th edition of the Vuelta Ciclista a la Rioja.

 

16 teams lined up in Pases de Espolen of Logrono for the 56th edition of the well-established Spanish race. The breakaway was trying to form from kilometre zero with several combinations going away. Dion Smith was on his toes, positioning himself to cover any key moves that might be made. At the 25km mark Smith saw his opportunity and left the front of the peloton with 4 other riders, in a move that stuck. Whilst the bunch re-grouped after the frantic start, some riders headed back to their team cars to talk tactics with the DS’s allowing the gap to slip out to a maximum of three minutes.

 

When the time came, Orica Greenedge were the team that controlled the time gap, moving to the front of the peloton they started the process of reeling in the break. Directly behind Orica, ONE Pro Cycling got themselves into position and rode as one tight unit. Heading into the final 40km lead DS Phil West spoke with Dion Smith and they decided he would attack the breakaway to try and put Orica under pressure and disrupt the chase. Smith managed to go away and took two other riders with him. Unfortunately one man in the break was just there to mark and wouldn’t ride with Smith leaving him and one other rider to work at the front of the race. With only two riders working in break this enabled Orica Greenedge to slowly but surely reel them in. With 12km to go Smith attacked once more trying to go solo but once again found himself being marked without assistance.

 

The peloton still being controlled by Orica caught the breakaway with 8km remaining. With the ONE Pro team positioned well, the plan was to deliver Yanto Barker to the line for the bunch sprint. As the sprint unfolded Barker sprinted home taking 7th place following a great team effort.

 

Novo Nordisk sprinter on the attack at Vuelta a la Rioja

Team Novo Nordisk’s Martijn Verschoor (NED) starred in the main breakaway at Sunday’s Vuelta Ciclista a La Rioja, showing the Changing Diabetes® jersey until the last 30km.

 

The race got off to very fast start with a flurry of attacks. After 20km, Verschoor and four other riders pulled away, eventually reaching a maximum gap of 4 minutes. Orica GreenEDGE controlled the peloton, and the break was reabsorbed in the race’s final kilometers, setting the stage for for a bunch sprint. In the sprint, Orica’s Michael Matthews edged out Sergey Shilov (Russia) to take the win, with Team Novo Nordisk’s Andrea Peron (ITA) finishing best for the team at 13th. 

 

“The peloton split early on,” Verschoor said, “and I came away with four riders in the front. My plan was to work with them past the last climb, but the peloton was still compact with 30km to go and Orica worked hard to bring in the leaders for the sprint. After that, we did our best to help Andrea get into position. He got a little stuck in the final kilometers, but still finished solid at 13th.”

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