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"We are happy with the tour as a whole because we saw that Leo is at a very high level. And we know that his form is still developing and he will be able to improve even more in the coming weeks," Poitschke says

Photo: Unipublic / Graham Watson








15.06.2014 @ 23:14 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Leopold König went into the Criterium du Dauphiné with a bit of uncertainty as he had just recently come back after a nasty knee injury. Having ended the race in 11th overall, his NetApp-Endura team is confident that their leader will be ready for the Tour de France.


Andrew Talansky (Garmin Sharp) won the 66th Critérium du Dauphiné. The US rider was one of a leading group of originally 23 riders that formed after the first climb. The NetApp – Endura team once again had a rider in breakaway group today, in the form of Bartosz Huzarski. Leo König ended the 130,5 kilometer section with a summit finish in Courchevel, in 15th position and 1 minute and 51 seconds behind stage winner Mikel Nieve (SKY), taking eleventh place in the final rankings.


"Leo rode a very good race over the last 30 kilometers. And it was also another strong performance from Bartosz. It's just a shame that it wasn't enough to lift him up in the overall rankings. We were aiming for a place in the top ten, but in the end it was eleventh. But that's not a disappointment. It's a very good position in this high-quality field. We are happy with the tour as a whole because we saw that Leo is at a very high level. And we know that his form is still developing and he will be able to improve even more in the coming weeks. So we can look to the Tour de France and be very optimistic about achieving our objectives," says Enrico Poitschke, summing up the Critérium du Dauphiné.


Today's final stage did in fact start with a downhill section of around ten kilometers, but this led straight into the first climb, which was played out on the almost 10% Côte de Domancy after just 16.6 kilometers. And the terrain did not get any easier after that, because just 30 kilometers later it was followed by the Col des Saisies, a category one climb. The final decision about the tour win was to be reached on the last 25 kilometers, with two difficult climbs heading towards Courchevel.


As on the preceding stages, today's start was a really aggressive affair. Unlike on recent occasions, this time, along with those chasing the stage, a few dangerous outsiders in the battle for the tour win managed to get into the 23-strong group of the day, one of whom was Bartosz Huzarski, once again a NetApp – Endura rider. Behind them, the new overall leader's team did not manage to keep the time gap under control. For that reason the remaining 110 kilometers of the stage turned into an exciting pursuit race, right down to the last meter. One again the performance of Leo König was magnificent. The NetApp – Endura captain rode an aggressive race and kept up with the overall leader until the final kilometers. In the end, König was just 46 seconds short of the targeted top-ten spot in the Dauphine, which is considered an important indicator for the Tour de France.


For part of the NetApp – Endura team their Tour de France preparation is concluded following the eight-stage tour through the southeast of France. The second half of the team around Tiago Machado will be doing the last fine tuning for the Grande Boucle as of next Thursday in the Tour of Slovenia.



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