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“They both made that very, very strong 11-man move. When we came over the first category climb, the peloton was quite active behind, especially Astana.”

Photo: Sirotti






18.05.2015 @ 02:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tom Jelte Slagter finished in seventh place on the ninth stage of the Giro d’Italia, but for 60 kilometers he rode at the front of the race alone. Ryder Hesjedal, who finished the stage in ninth place, played the role of consummate teammate to Slagter, chasing down repeated attempts to bridge across to the line leader.


Both Slagter and Hesjedal were part of an 11-rider breakaway that formed around 50 kilometers into the stage. Slipping away from the escape group on the descent of the day’s category one climb, Slatger gained an advantage of nearly two minutes as lone leader.


The start of nearly every road stage of the first week of the Giro d’Italia has proven testing with high speeds and a constant reshuffling in the peloton. Slagter and Hesjedal each launched several attacks before riding themselves in the race-winning move.


“We were hoping for another quick start like we had yesterday, and we got it,” said Wegelius. “They both made that very, very strong 11-man move. When we came over the first category climb, the peloton was quite active behind, especially Astana.”


Slagter attacked before the second sprint point and gained a small advantage. He continued with his quick turn of speed, opening up the gap.


“We asked Ryder and TJ to work to maintain the gap when Astana picked up the pace,” Wegelius explained. “In the end, TJ went away at the bottom of the descent. We kept him going at the same speed, and he was able to stay away.”


Multiple riders made multiple attempts to bridge across to Slagter. Hesjedal marked each and every attack. The Canadian was on high alert for any move that would challenge his teammate’s chance for a stage win.


Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) had attacked the chase group several times before his efforts proved successful. Fifteen kilometers from the finish Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) jumped away from the group. Tiralongo countered and immediately shot past Elissonde as he made his way up to Slagter.


Slagter reached the summit of the final climb alone. He was joined by Tiralongo eight kilometers from the finish. Spent from his solo effort, Slagter lost contact with Tiralongo in the final five kilometers.


Slagter eventually finished in what remained of the original break, alongside Hesjedal.


“The mood of the team is extremely positive,” Wegelius added. “Naturally TJ and Ryder are disappointed. To go so deep and not come away with the win is always painful. Everybody is riding great. They’re riding as a team, and everyone is doing his job extremely well. We’re going to take a lot of positive energy into the rest day. I think we’re in a really good place.”



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