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"I was right where I wanted to be heading into the sprint, but I'd expected Richeze to drift into the middle of the road at the end so I could attack down the barriers, but he didn't do that until it was too late."

Photo: Sirotti








21.06.2015 @ 20:34 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Mikel Nieve wrapped up second place at the Tour of Slovenia after witnessing Chris Sutton sprint to third on the concluding stage.


Nieve was able to surf the wheels in the peloton as Team Sky rode hard in the last 15km to thrust Sutton into the mix, and Sutton then gave it his all in a fast finish in Novo Mesto.


The Australian latched on to Maximiliano Richeze’s wheel as the sprinters rounded the final corner, but despite digging  deep he couldn’t round the Lampre-Merida rider and challenge Marko Kump (Adria Mobil), who sealed his victory with a well-timed display of power.


Nieve was credited with the same time as those riders which ensured he ended the race five seconds behind the overall winner Primož Roglic (Adria Mobil).


The fourth and final stage had always looked set to end in a bunch kick, and Salvatore Puccio had won the second intermediate sprint before seven riders eventually formed the day’s main breakaway.


Adria Mobil immediately rode to keep them in check, and Lampre-Merida added their muscle to restore parity 26km from home.


Giacomo Berlato (Nippo) and Pieter Jacobs (Topsport) then tried solo attacks, but both were annulled as the sprint trains asserted their authority at the front of the bunch. Team Sky were among that battle, and led into the last 2km before dropping Sutton into the firing line for his maiden top-three finish of 2015.



After stage Sutton was grateful to have been given the chance to show what he could do, and praised his team-mates' efforts in the closing stages.


He told "The boys were incredible. As well as leading me out, they had to make sure Mikel had no problems and Xabi [Zandio] did a lot of riding in the wind to keep us both protected. Nathan [Earle] and Salva then stepped up and Andy [Fenn] was brilliant in the last few kilometres. 


"I was right where I wanted to be heading into the sprint, but I'd expected Richeze to drift into the middle of the road at the end so I could attack down the barriers, but he didn't do that until it was too late. Fair play to Kump as well though, he was really strong today.


"I'm just grateful to have been given a chance and it's been a long time since I've been on the podium. We'd had a tough call to make before the sprint because Andy was also feeling strong, but we should be riding together again in Denmark so I can repay the favour then."


Sutton was also impressed with the race as a whole, and has enjoyed the ambiance over the four days of action.


He added: "It's a really nice race, but it's definitely been hard. Every day we've had to go over tough climbs, and the weather's also been changeable, but we've still enjoyed it. We've worked well as a group and the atmosphere's been really relaxed." 



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