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"It’s a big disappointment because it was a good chance today and the team did such a good job to keep me out of the wind all day, keep me hydrated, put me in a good position… I feel like an amateur to not deliver.”

Photo: Trek Factory Racing






26.08.2015 @ 23:57 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It was a straightforward sprinter’s stage until the final kilometer. 


The 167.3-kilometer stage five at the Vuelta a España was predominantly flat, but again race organizers threw in an uphill ending resulting in another prickly finish where positioning was critical, and then, even with perfect placement, you still needed to have the power to finish it off.


“If you look at today, it’s a sprinter who wins, but who else is there in the top 20? It’s almost all the GC riders so that says enough of how hard that last kilometer was,”explained director Dirk Demol. “The plan was for Jasper [Stuyven] to give it a go. We had checked the last kilometer and we knew that from 400 meters to 100 meters to go it was steep – like 8 or 9%  - it was a hard last kilometer.”


The three-man breakaway that pedaled out front all day posed little threat to the expected bunch finish, and all was together for the final eight kilometers.


Trek Factory Racing maneuvered Jasper Stuyven into good position, and even when they briefly lost the front in the massive swarm, a monstrous effort by Danny van Poppel recovered the lost ground as he led Stuyven back to the top wheels inside the final meters.


Just under the red kite the road tilted upwards, and in the final 500 meters the incline steepened all the way to the line – there was no hiding, no last second come-from-behind surprises today.


“I thought I had good legs, I felt good all day, “ said a disappointed Stuyven after finishing in 20th place. "The accelerations were going well in the peloton, the little bumps were easy, so I thought I had a good chance today."


“Okay we had to do a little bit of an effort to get to the front a little bit too late but normally that shouldn’t be too hard to make a sprint after. I was in good position with 600 meters to go or something, but when we had to start the sprint uphill I couldn’t deliver the power. I don’t know why or what – it’s a big disappointment because it was a good chance today and the team did such a good job to keep me out of the wind all day, keep me hydrated, put me in a good position… I feel like an amateur to not deliver.”


When John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) began the sprint, only one rider could match his acceleration: Caleb Ewan (Orica GreenEdge) had the legs to come around the German to easily take the win, leaving Degenkolb runner-up with Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) taking third.


When Stuyven launched his final kick he quickly faded as the road pitched up. Although Stuyven berated himself for his 20th placing, director Dirk Demol was more rational about the outcome:


“We knew Jasper was in good condition, we saw that in the last few weeks, and he has worked hard for the team in Eneco Tour and also the first days here so we decided to play his card today. With an uphill finish he’s okay; it was good for him.


“He said all day he had good sensations, but when he came to the last 500 meters he just didn’t have the legs anymore.  But okay, at least he tried, that’s how it goes sometimes and now we have to continue. There are not a lot of chances for the sprint finishes, but we also have other cards to play. There are still many more opportunities.”



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