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“They did a lot of work for Nathan and Sebastian, and it was nice that those two got the chance to show what they could do, especially with them being so new to this team. They should take a lot of confidence from this and it all bode...

Photo: Sirotti

NATHAN EARLE

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TEAM SKY

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TOUR DU HAUT VAR

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24.02.2014 @ 21:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

New Sky signings Nathan Earle and Sebastian Henao got a rare chance to lead one of the best team's in the world in this weekend's Tour du Haut-Var. In the end, Earle reacted a bit too late to the decisive attack and so missed the podium in his first European race for his new team.

 

Nathan Earle produced a solid climbing display on the concluding day of the Tour du Haut Var but just missed the decisive move which saw Amael Moinard take the stage victory and Carlos Betancur the overall title. Earle led a select group over the Cote des Tuilières and proved instrumental in chasing down an earlier attack from Fabio Duarte (Colombia) and Rémy Di Gregorio (VC La Pomme), but couldn’t kick again when Moinard (BMC Racing) and Betancur (AG2R-La Mondiale) jumped clear in the final 10 kilometres.

 

Earle eventually crossed the line in 21st position – just 12 seconds behind Moinard – and the result saw him finish 12th in the overall standings. Betancur meanwhile, topped the general classification with a 12-second cushion over his team-mate Samuel Dumoulin.

 

Sports Director Dan Frost was pleased to see neo-pro Earle holding his own against some illustrious opposition, and felt he would have benefited a lot from the experience.

 

“Nathan looked really good today but when that last gap opened up near the end he just couldn’t quite get to them," he said. "He tried on the descent, and again on the flat, but the group was a bit disjointed and the gap proved slightly too wide.

 

“He was disappointed after the stage because he knew he could have been there if he’d reacted slightly sooner. He had the legs to do it, and this has been a valuable learning experience for him which is good.

 

“Sebastian [Henao] and Salvatore [Puccio] were in the main peloton with Nathan at the end there, and I was pleased with the whole team’s performance today.

 

“They did a lot of work for Nathan and Sebastian, and it was nice that those two got the chance to show what they could do, especially with them being so new to this team. They should take a lot of confidence from this and it all bodes well for the coming races.

 

“It was a hard stage today – over 200km with two first-category climbs – and the whole peloton was tired towards the end of it. They’re not used to racing this far just yet, but this will have done a lot for their endurance.”

 

Frost also praised the efforts of his support staff, and admitted having 16 bikes stolen on the night before the race had weighed heavily over the two days of action.

 

“Things definitely weren’t helped with our bikes being stolen yesterday,” he added. “We were still on the spare and borrowed bikes today, and there were a lot of things to sort out behind the scenes.

 

“The support staff deserve a special mention for their efforts this weekend because they did a great job to even get us to the start.

 

“On the road, our goal was to make the podium and if Nathan had gone when the other two went, we’d have made that podium. Our prediction wasn’t too far off the mark and I’m sure we’ll come back and do things better next time around.”

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