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"This is an incredible week for Team Katusha after Yuriy Trofimov's win yesterday. It's more than expected, especially with these hot conditions of racing," Spilak says

Photo: A.S.O




13.06.2014 @ 12:13 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Going into the Criterium du Dauphiné, Katusha were hopeful that Yury Trofimov and Simon Spilak would be in contention for the GC but after the first mountain stage, the team had to forget about their overall ambitions. After Trofimov's win in Gap, Spilak made it two in a row for the Russian team in a dramatic turnaround of luck.


With Joaquim Rodriguez focused on the Giro-Vuelta double, the responsibility to lead Katusha at the Tour de France has fallen onto the shoulder of Yury Trofimov and Simon Spilak. Even though the Spaniard has made a late change to his schedule and will not also be at the start in Leeds in July, nothing has changed when it comes to the GC ambitions of the Russian team: Spilak and Trofimov are still the leaders.


The team had hoped that the pair would fight for a top result in this week's Criterium du Dauphiné but things haven't turned out the way they planned. Both lost time in the first summit finish on the Col du Beal, meaning that the team had to change its ambitions.


Since then, they have been almost unstoppable. Two days ago Trofimov took a fantastic solo victory in Gap and yesterday Spilak made it two in a row when he made an almost identical copy of his teammate's performance. Having been part of a very strong brekaway, he attacked on his own on the final climb and held his advantage all the way to the finish.


While Spilak has always been very strong in the early part of the season, he has struggled a lot more later in the year. The Slovenian excels in the rain but finds it difficult to cope with the heat and so this week's very hot conditions are a major factor in his massive time loss in the opening stages.


Hence, he was surprised to turn things around on another hot day in France.


“It's been a really hard stage with the heat and I don't like the heat at all," he said. "Only with 500 metres to go I've believed I could win the stage. Actually I looked back at the 1km sign and I didn't see anyone behind me. The chasing group was one minute behind but I wasn't sure.


"When I attacked in the first climb, I was far from thinking that I'd win the stage. Initially, I only followed the attacks. This is an incredible week for Team Katusha after Yuriy Trofimov's win yesterday. It's more than expected, especially with these hot conditions of racing.”



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