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“In the next few days, there will be an announcement. I have a team. It’s a big team for me.”


Photo: Sirotti






26.09.2014 @ 19:03 Posted by Emil Axelgaard, Ponferrada

After his stage win in the Tour of Alberta, Ruben Zepuntke went into the U23 Worlds road race as one of the only riders to have beaten the pros but after he accidentally ended up in a break, the race didn’t go to plan. However, the talented German has crowned his dream season with a professional contract, with his future team likely to be announced in the next few days.


A few weeks ago, Ruben Zepuntke marked himself out as an outsider for the U23 Worlds Road Race when he beat the pros in stage 1 of the Tour of Alberta. Riding for the small Bissell team, the talented German beat Ramunas Navardauskas in a sprint from a reduced bunch on a rainy and windy day in Canada.


Having shown great sprinting potential, many would have expected him to save himself for a bunch kick in today’s race in Ponferrada. However, he joined a strong group of chasers at the midpoint of the race and together with Lennart Hofstede he bridged the gap to the remnants of the early break. As more riders attacked out of the field, a bigger group formed but with 25km to go, he was back in the fold.


Having used all his energy, Zepuntke rolled across the line 11.48 behind winner Sven Erik Bystrøm. The performance left him with mixed emotions as his plan had actually been to save himself for a sprint.


“Actually the plan was that Silvio Herklotz and Emanuel Buchmann had to go in the groups but they weren’t in the front so I needed to go,” he told CyclingQuotes after the race. “Otherwise we had no one in front. I just went. I didn’t think about the race. I just saw that we needed to be in the break.


“There was like 8 guys. The other guys were actually pretty bad. After the first climb, we went full speed and they just got dropped. I felt very good and was very good on the climbs too.”


“The plan was to save myself for the sprin but t just happened. Everybody knows me and that I make… not stupid attacks but just go like Jens Voigt and don’t think about it.”


Caleb Ewan had gone into the race as the big favourite and Australia completely dominated the day. Hence, Zepuntke was part of a pre-race plan of putting the favourite under pressure.


“Our plan was to attack Australia, to hurt them,” he said. “We talked with the Dutch guys and they agreed that we had to attack them to make the weak.


“Jan Dieteren was our protected rider for the sprint so he had to save energy but he didn’t make it into the first group. I felt very good. It wasn’t that plan. It just happened. I am satisfied with my season.


“[After I was caught], there were a lot of other guys who went full gas and I had maybe done too much with the turns I did. It was maybe too much but I felt good. If I had saved my energy, it would maybe have been a top 10. It was a hard race.”


Despite the lack of result, Zepuntke remains moderately satisfied.


“It’s better to be in a breakaway and not in the top 10 to show the other guys how strong you are,” he said. “It’s better to do it in that way instead of getting dropped on the final climb.”


Zepuntke’s great performances have naturally caught the attention of the pro teams. Having had talks with several squads, the German reveals that he will turn pro in 2015.


“In the next few days, there will be an announcement,” he said. “I have a team. It’s a big team for me.”


In Alberta, Zepuntke both showed that he can sprint and climb and he seems to have a versatile talent. That opens many doors for the strong German who refuses to be put into any specific category at the moment.


“I think I will be an allrounder for the next years,” he said. “I will try to be a good allrounder who can climb and is a good classics rider too. I will not focus on one thing like sprinting, time trialling or climbing. That will be my future.


“The classics will be very fine for me, both the Northern classics and the Ardennes classics. I have to look and see how good I am in the competitions.”


Zepuntke refused to reveal anything about the identity of his new team.



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