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“I am happy with the result today. Of course I was close to a new victory, but I did everything I possibly could to try to win. The team was really perfect today. The guys worked hard to support me," Tsatevich says

Photo: Katusha / Tim de Waele




05.03.2014 @ 19:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Alexey Tsatevich got agonizingly close to repeating his win in the Wallonian one-day race Le Samyn when he was narrowly edged out by Maxime Vantomme (Roubaix) in the final sprint. The Russian regrets the lost opportunity to make it two in a row but was impressed by a very aggressive Katusha showing.


Wearing the #1 bib as defending champion of the GP Le Samyn, Alexey Tsatevich tried to make it two-in-a-row, putting up a massive effort in the uphill sprint, earning a second place on the podium. His effort was joined throughout the day by Katusha teammates all up to the job of controlling the race.


“I am happy with the result today," he said. "Of course I was close to a new victory, but I did everything I possibly could to try to win. The team was really perfect today. The guys worked hard to support me. They controlled the race, neutralized all attacks and were in every dangerous breakaway so I was without any stress in the peloton.


"My work was to stay in the group, prepare for the mass sprint and to show 100% of myself in the final and that’s what I did. I felt good during the stage. Thanks to our masseur Boriss Lonshakovs, who helped me a lot in question of recovery at home, now I am at really good level.  My next aim is Paris-Nice where I want to get another good result.”


In the final, teammate and Russian national champion Vladimir Isaychev softened up the group with his attack at the 2km mark, displaying strong form and a small advantage as he went under the banner signaling 1km to go. As the small uphill pitch began to bite, the main field came back to Isaychev at 400 metres to go, with the peloton spreading across the road for the sprint.


Tsatevich was in front in the middle of the big group and kicked into gear for the closing metres. It was almost a photo finish, with Maxime Vantomme (Roubaix Lille Metrople) just edging out Tsatevich. Nacer Bouhanni of FDJ rounded out the top three.


“Today we had some freedom in the race but of course our main objective was to help Alexey because last year he proved to be very strong in this race," Isaychev said. "In the local laps I tried to stay in the front all the time because there were some technical sections and you have to stay in front to control the race and catch the attacks.


"In the last 2 km I was still in front and saw a possibility to try my own attack so I did. I missed some freshness in my legs after a hard day of work, but I’m happy with my effort. I am happy with my shape for this race and the result from Alexey, who proved yet again that he is very strong.”


“Our main strategy was to work for Alexey Tsatevich and to control the race to bring him to the front for the massive sprint," sports director Gennady Mikhaylov said. "Everything we did was to control the race and control the attacks and the front of the race. In the final few laps we were very active in the front all the time, plus we sent Viacheslav Kuznetsov and Anton Vorobyev in breaks to control the situation in those groups.


"In the final Isaychev tried to do something. One part of this effort was the possibility to win the race. On the other side, this helped us control the peleton in the final kilometer for Alexey Tsatevich.


"In the end Alexey did a very good sprint and took a nice result. Of course it would have been nice to win today, but he did his best and Maxim Vantomme was very strong. I think today we showed the real power of Katusha Team and we can be proud of the race we did”.


The 45th edition of Le Samyn started in Quaregnon and finished in Dour. Earlier road action for the 195.9 km midweek semi-classic had two riders away that were brought back in the final five local laps, setting up a strong 10-man breakaway that included Anton Vorobyev. Original efforts from this group were cooperative as they held a small advantage in the last 20 km. But attacks from within the group eventually broke up the effort with 6 km to go and the sprinters’ teams saw opportunity on the horizon.  An active Isaychev and determined Tsatevich capped off a solid day of racing for Katusha Team in the Wallonie region of Belgium.



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