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“The team’s on a good streak. We’re first in the WorldTour and then first and second in the rider classification. I think we did something right this winter with the training, so we can be really proud of ourselves.”

Photo: Team Tinkoff/Bettini Photo
26.04.2016 @ 17:25 Posted by Andy Pedersen

The curtain came down on the spring classics on Sunday with the fourth of the season’s ‘monuments’ in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Tinkoff squads in the Ardennes fought hard to maintain the team’s top spot in the UCI WorldTour rankings.

 

 At the end of Sunday, a look to the UCI WorldTour rankings showed the team still in a commanding position in both the UCI Individual and Team WorldTour rankings. As a team, Tinkoff sits 94 points ahead of Team Sky in second and 199 points ahead of BMC Racing Team in third. In the individual classification, Peter Sagan still leads teammate Alberto Contador in first and second respectively.

 

 In the final three races of the spring campaign, the best result for the team came at Amstel Gold Race where Michael Valgren raced to second place, made even more impressive by the fact that it was just his first WorldTour podium.

 

The result came after a strong performance from the team at Amstel, with Roman Kreuziger playing his part in setting up the finish for Valgren with a powerful attack in the final 10 kilometres. After the end of the cobblestone classics and a change to both the type of terrain and the rider line-ups, this early strong performance was a great start to the Ardennes Classics, as Sport Director Steven De Jongh explained.

 

“The boys worked hard, did all they could to support Roman & Michael. With all the climbs and the technical route today it's easier said than done. There were no crashes also on a hectic day, which was good. Now we look ahead to Wednesday at Flèche Wallone.”

 

Adding to his director’s comments, Valgren was pleased to be part of Tinkoff’s strong performance in the season so far.

 

“The team’s on a good streak. We’re first in the WorldTour and then first and second in the rider classification. I think we did something right this winter with the training, so we can be really proud of ourselves.”

 

 After Amstel came La Flèche Wallone mid-week, but with the incredibly steep final ascent of the Mur de Huy sure to decide the race, on paper the Tinkoff line-up wasn’t going to be the most combative at the finish. The team put in a strong performance regardless with Kreuziger finishing 11th, adding to his 12th at Amstel.

 

 The final of three races in the week was Liège, and one run under atrocious weather conditions. The team were once again focused on Kreuziger and Valgren, with the addition of Rafal Majka who returned from high-altitude in Cyprus. Majks was to come unstuck in a crash, leaving just Kreuziger and Valgren to fight in the closing stages with Kreuziger coming away with a strong seventh place despite being disappointed with the outcome.

 

“On the new climb with cobbles, in the first half I couldn’t find my rhythm and couldn’t follow the other guys that attacked so I’m disappointed with this because nobody wanted to pull and really make the race to help catch the break. I'm very disappointed, as I saw in the last 500m that even into a head wind I was making up ground. I expected more than seventh, but that’s how the one-day races go – you need some luck.”

 

Although both Sagan and Contador are currently in build periods for their next season objectives, the upcoming Tour de Romandie presents another chance to score points for the team classification with Rafal Majka leading Tinkoff before starting the assault on the first Grand Tour of the season, the Giro d’Italia in May. 

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