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"To win the TTT is particularly satisfying because it proves that our team spirit is strong. And taking the victory with an all-Russian team is the best thing for our Russian Global Cycling Project," sports director Valerio Piva says

Photo: Sirotti

ALEXANDER PORSEV

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

ANTON VOROBYEV

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

COPPI E BARTALI

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS

MAXIM BELKOV

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

SERGEY CHERNETSKIY

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS
21.03.2013 @ 11:58 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

The quartet of Sergei Chernetskii, Alexander Porsev, Maxim Belkov and Anton Vorobyev powered around the 11,2 km course in yesterday's team time trial in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali to take a convincing win. While the win in itself was hugely satisfying, the all-Russian composition of the team marked a milestone for the Katusha team.

 

The second half-stage of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali tried out a new format. Instead of the usual 8-man team time trial, teams were asked to divide their roster into two 4-man squads which had to take on the course separately.

 

With no designated GC leader of the team, Katusha could select their teams with only the stage win in mind. They put together a formidable squad consisting of established time triallist Maxim Belkov, U23 TT world champion Anton Vorobyev, sprinter Alexander Porsev and young talent Sergey Chernetsky.

 

The four riders stuck together throughout the course and ended up besting the early best time set by the Cannondale team's GC riders Damiano Caruso, Moreno Moser and Ivan Basso alongside Paolo Longo Borghini. After a short wait, the Russian team was able to celebrate another triumph.

 

The win carried a very special significance for the squad. The ProTeam is just the pinnacle of the Russian Global Cycling Project which aims to develop young Russian talents to be competitive at the highest level. For an all-Russian team consisting of young riders of which two are neo-professionals to win a TTT in a highly competitive field, is a testament to its success.

 

"To win the TTT is particularly satisfying because it proves our team spirit is strong," sports director Valerio Piva said. "And taking the victory with an all-Russian team is the best thing for our Russian Global Cycling Project."

 

Going for the overall win

With the victory, Maxim Belkov took over the leader's jersey from Fabio Felline (Androni Giocattoli) who had won the morning's first half-stage. The Russian has been one of the most visible riders in the first part of the year as he was part of the day's long break in the Strade Bianche, the fifth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico and last Sunday's Milan-Sanremo, and he has impressed most with his strength and resistance.

 

He may not be the most renowned climber, but the team will try to defy expectations and go for the overall win. He will have to survive the next two hilly stages and then make use of his abilities as a time triallist to gain back any lost time in the race against the clock on Saturday.

 

"Our goal here is to win," Piva said. "We have many young riders with good prospects in this kind of races. Vorobyev, especially, did an incredible performance. The other riders were also great. We had the right mentality from the beginning, and even though we had problems because of rain, we managed to do a perfect performance. Now we have Maxim Belkov as the race leader. He is in great shape and we will try to keep the jersey as long as possible."

 

Belkov thankful

Belkov was of course also delighted at the win and used the opportunity to thank the Russian Global Cycling Project for giving him the opportunity to perform on the biggest stage.

 

"I am really happy for the victory," he said. "We prepared very well for this time trial, and we were focused on the best result possible. And we did it. I am now the leader of the race and I will try to do my best in the next days. Today's result is not only important for Katusha, but for the whole Russian Global Cycling Project too. Today we had young Russian riders in the roster who just started their professional career! We, the riders with a lot of experience, are proud of that."

 

"On behalf of the whole team I would like to thank the Project management and Igor Makarov (the head of the Russian Global Cycling Project, ed.) personally for all things he does for the Russian cycling and for the fact that Katusha has the possibility to take part and to win in the world’s best races."

 

The Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali continues today with the first of two hilly stages. With the Cannondale trio of Damiano Caruso, Moreno Moser and Ivan Basso just 5 seconds behind, Belkov will have a tough ask in his attempt to defend his jersey.

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