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In a tough uphill sprint, Shilov showed immense power to take his first professional victory in dominant fashion; despite working as a lead-out man in the finale, Veloso retained his overall lead

Photo: Sirotti






08.08.2014 @ 19:58 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sergey Shilov (Lokosphinx) showed exceptional power and great sprinting skills to win today’s stage 8 in the Volta a Portugal in an uphill sprint. Having positioned himself perfectly on the Samuel Caldeira’s wheel, he powered clear of his rivals to hold off Caldeira (OFM) and Manuel Cardoso (Banco BIC) by a convincing margin. Despite working as a lead-out man in the finale, Gustavo Cesar Veloso (OFM) defended his overall lead on the eve of the time trial.


Sergey Shilov recommended himself to the WorldTour teams when he won today’s stage of the Volta a Portugal in very impressive fashion. The 26-year-old Russian proved great puncheur skills by beating the sprinters in an uphill sprint in the penultimate road stage of the 10-stage race.


With a mostly flat course, all was set for a bunch sprint and Shilov and his Lokoshinx played the waiting game while the Banco BIC and Caja Rural teams worked hard to keep the early break under control. When it all came down to a sprint on the hard, uphill finishing straight, he positioned himself perfectly on Samuel Caldeira’s wheel.


Caldeira was given the perfect lead-out by race leader Gustavo Veloso whose hard work made the group explode to pieces. However, the local sprinter was not match to Shilov who easily passed his rival to take his first professional victory,


The stage took place on a 194km course from Sabugal to Castelo Branco that was almost completely flat. Only a small category 3 climb at the midpoint was set to test the riders before they tackled the slightly ascending final kilometres.


Several attacks were launched straight from the gun and it was a very fast start to the race. A 3-rider group seemed to have opened a gap but at the 20km mark, it was back together.


Alberto Gallego (Radio Popular) and Jose Ragonessi (Ecuador) launched the next attack and they were joined by Raul Mateos (Louletano), Fernando Orjuela (4-72) and Carlos Ribeiro (Portugal) to form a 5-rider front group. While Ribeiro won the first intermediate sprint, the peloton slowed down and allowed them to gain an advantage.


As expected, the two big sprint teams Caja Rural and Banco BIC took control but they allowed the gap to continue is upwards trend until it had reachd 3.37 at the 65km mark. From there, they started to reduce their deficit and after 100km of racing, the gap was 2.45.


When Mateps won the second intermediate sprint, Ribeiro was dropped from the front group while the peloton maintained a stable gap around 2.30. As the front group tried to respond to the peloton’s hard chase and made an acceleration, Ragonessi was dropped, leaving just 3 riders to press on.


Banco BIC, Louletano and Caja Rural continued to lead the chase while the escapees started to attack each other. Gallego launched the first acceleration with 57km to go and Orjuela briefly dropped off.


The front trio found back together and the attacking continued. Finally, the elastic snapped when Orjuela made a move and the strong Colombian managed to reopen his advantage to 3.15.


Orjuela won the next intermediate sprint while his chasers were caught. Orjuela did a good job to maintain his advantage and won the final intermediate sprint too, with Dabid Livramento (Banco BIC) leading the peloton across the line.


At this point, the gap was down to just 1.05 and with 25km to go, Orjuela was almost brought back. This opened to door for an attack from Sergio Sousa (Efapel) and he passed the lone Colombian who fell back to the peloton.


Igor Merino joined Sousa and the pair built an advantage of 30 seconds. However, Banco BIC and Caja Rural were still chasing hard and always had the situation under control.


Merino was dropped by Sousa who survived until the 4km to go mark when Caja Rural brought him back. Inside the final 3km, however, the Spanish team was passed by OFM, with race leader Veloso taking a massive turn on the front.


While the peloton started to splinter, Veloso delivered Caldeira perfectly on the front but it was Shilov who was the strongest rider in the finale.


Veloso defended his 28-second advantage over Rui Sousa (Radio Popular) and now only faces one big test in tomorrow’s 29km time trial. The course is mostly downhill and is expected to suit the really powerful riders, offering Veloso a good opportunity to extend his lead of the pure climbers.



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