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"I am not a real sprinter, but today thanks to Iurii Trofimov who supported me, I managed to get a place in front to try to do my best and I finished 7th."

Photo: Muscat Municipality/Paumer/B.Bade






29.04.2015 @ 20:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

A day in the break for Wednesday’s stage two gave Maxim Belkov the mountains jersey, while teammate Ilnur Zakarin sprinted for seventh place and moved into 5th on the general classification, with four teammates just behind him in the top nine. It was a good day of racing for Team Katusha in the Romandie region of Switzerland. 


"I am not a real sprinter, but today thanks to Iurii Trofimov who supported me, I managed to get a place in front to try to do my best and I finished 7th. Today we had a plan to be in front in the final and to sprint with me or Sergei Chernetckii and we did it. In the last climb we controlled the situation very well. There was not any breakaway without a rider from our team, and I think we did a good race all the way to the finish line. I felt quite good today as did all other team members," said Ilnur Zakarin.


A quick sprint to the finish from a reduced field of riders saw Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) takes the stage win as well as the leader’s jersey. Joining him on the podium were Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling) and Julian Alaphilippe of Etixx – Quick Step in second and third places. 


The 168,1 km stage 2 began in Apples and ended in Sainte-Imier. There was not much flat terrain on the rolling course, a perfect setting for Belkov to slip away in the break. His cooperation with Jonathan Fumeaux (IAM Cycling) saw the gap go to almost ten minutes but was finally neutralized with 23 km to go. Belkov’s efforts on the four rated climbs gave him the first pink jersey in the mountains classification. 


"It was not really my intention to start that break and it was not part of a team tactic either but I was behind the IAM rider when he accelerated and behind us no one followed, so we were in the front and we continued. I thought 'OK maybe I can take the mountains jersey today’ and I succeeded. Of course I will try to defend it. My action of today was also good for my head as I did not feel so well the last days after my training camp in Sierra Nevada but today I felt very well. This makes me happy in view of the coming Giro d'Italia as well," said Maxim Belkov.


"Since Chernetskii was not there anymore at the end, we worked for Zakarin in the sprint. Of course he is not a true sprinter but we still tried. We made a train but it was impossible to pass the speed created by Tony Martin. But I’m happy about the team’s work today. We jumped on every move on the last climb with both Kochetkov and Silin. It was really good teamwork. And of course there was Belkov in the break. You know Max – he likes to go in the break. He did a great job and now he wears the mountains jersey. We will try to keep it," said sports director Dmitry Konyshev.


Stage 3 on Thursday is 173 km from Moutier to Porrentruy. The course again features four rated-climbs with little flat terrain along the way. 



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