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''I'm obviously disappointed because I was definitely faster than Zeits and Mancebo in a sprint, but it's like that. I do have the jersey as best climber, and then I should be on the podium of the GC. It's not that bad.&...

JULIEN EL FARES

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LA POMME MARSEILLE

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TOUR OF HAINAN

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27.10.2015 @ 17:06 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Today the general classification of the Tour of Hainan (2.HC) was decided in the queen stage. After seven bunch sprints in as many stages, the 204 kilometers from Dongfang to Wuzhishan allowed the climbers to show themselves with a final climb whose top was located some 10 kilometers from the finish line. Winner of this queen stage and overall standings thanks to Julien Antomarchi in 2014, Marseille 13-KTM were again in the mix.

 

''We had two good cards to play on this stage with Rémy Di Gregorio and me," explains Julien El Fares in an interview with DirectVelo.com. "But Remy was not feeling very well on this stage (35th, ed.'), so I played my card fully. I waited for the last climb to give myself 200% and I did not miss much."

 

Despite a sharp attack of Italian Valerio Conti (Lampre -Merida) and Kazakh Andrey Zeits (Astana) from the first ramps of the last climb, Julien El Fares was able to crest the top near near the front of the race, alongsideSpanish veteran Francisco Mancebo (Skydive Dubai). 

 

''I decided to accelerate 1500m from the top with Mancebo, and we soon had the race lead in sight. I did not think I could get back so quickly because I thought there was a big gap. This surprised me but I really gave everything to the summit to try to go as fast as possible," explains El Fares who ultimately made the junction 500m after the start of the descent. '

 

'When I got there, I was really on my limit. I needed to breathe.''  

 

He was unable to respond to the attacks in the finale, including that of Andrey Zeits who eventually rode to victory in the final kilometers. 

 

''He quickly got an advantage of 10 seconds, and I never got back. But I was close," regrets Julien El Fares who ultimately finished in second place in the stage. 

 

''I'm obviously disappointed because I was definitely faster than Zeits and Mancebo in a sprint, but it's like that," he says. "I do have the jersey as best climber, and then I should be on the podium of the GC (3rd, 12 seconds behind Italian Sacha Modolo, ed.) It's not that bad."

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