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“It was very close to the victory so I’m a little bit sad to have just missed out on that. But we have another chance tomorrow and maybe there can be a sprint after the big climb."

SALVATORE PUCCIO

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TOUR DE SLOVENIE

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19.06.2015 @ 01:53 Posted by Renaud Breban

Salvatore Puccio got the Tour of Slovenia off to a strong start for Team Sky with second place in the opening time trial, narrowly missing out on the victory.


On a sunny evening in Ljubljana the Italian blasted around the 8.8-kilometre course in a time of 10 minutes and 22 seconds, but was just four tenths of a second shy of the benchmark set by Artem Ovechkin (RusVelo).


Tantalisingly close, Puccio slotted into second place overall and was backed up by a number of strong performances from his Team Sky team-mates.


Andy Fenn clocked a time good enough for 11th on the day, less than a second ahead of Nathan Earle, who was one place further back after setting a competitive early time.


Mikel Nieve put himself firmly in the GC mix with a time 18 seconds off Ovechkin, with the race ultimately set to be decided in the mountains.

 

“After a long time it’s one of my best result and I’m really happy,” Puccio told TeamSky.com after coming off the podium.

 

“It was very close to the victory so I’m a little bit sad to have just missed out on that. But we have another chance tomorrow and maybe there can be a sprint after the big climb. For me it’s better that it’s not totally flat and there’s a hard climb in the last part of the stage. We’ll see tomorrow.


“I feel good after the Giro d’Italia and I’m really motivated. I was able to recover after the race and gain back my energy. Before coming here I did one week of training building back up and now I’m ready to really work hard in the next few days.”


Sports Director Dario Cioni was happy to see the team clock some strong times and put the near-miss for Puccio into perspective.


“It was a really good ride from Salvatore,” he confirmed. “I think if you told him before the start that he’d finish second on the stage then he would have been happy. But to finish so close to the win obviously it’s always a bit disappointing. But he can be proud of his ride.


“Andy and Nathan did good rides, and so did Mikel to just lose 18 seconds. So to be there for a climber like him is very reasonable and the time loss is just two seconds per kilometre. It puts him right in the mix.”

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