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"For everything that has happened in the last 10 months, this is a victory for the whole team."

Photo: Sirotti






24.04.2015 @ 20:50 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) got a rare chance to ride for himself in today’s final stage of the Giro del Trentino and the Italian grabbed it with both hands when he came out on top on the difficult circuit in Cles. Having made it into the right 3-rider breakaway, he managed to beat David Arroyo (Caja Rural) and Fabio Duarte (Colombia) in the sprint while Richie Porte (Sky) got safely through the day and secured the overall victory.


Paolo Tiralongo is known as one of the most loyal domestiques in the peloton. For years, he was a key rider at the Lampre team before he joined forces with Alberto Contador at the Astana team. In recent years, he has been known as the bodyguard for young Fabio Aru and has almost the same racing schedule as the talented climber.


However, Tiralongo is an extremely talented bike rider who knows how to take his chance when he is given an opportunity. In both 2011 and 2012, he won a stage in the Giro d’Italia, making use of his great climbing skills and fast sprint.


This week he was again expected to work for Aru in the Giro del Trentino but when the Italian was taken out due to illness, the hierarchy in the Astana team became a lot flatter. Mikel Landa has been riding excellently but the door was still open for Tiralongo to take his chance in the final stage whose mixed course looked like a good opportunity for a breakaway.


Tiralongo knows how to grab those opportunities in this like. In 2013, he was given the chance in stage 3 where he finished second behind now-teammate Michele Scarponi and today he did even better when he took the win in Cles.


"For everything that has happened in the last 10 months, this is a victory for the whole team," he said.


“I know me and my teammates for the Giro d’Italia have worked hard, even if there was a lot going in the background. But when you work hard and you know you’re respecting the rules, you’re able to put all the other stuff behind you. When you’re a professional, you’ve got to be professional in the bad moments and in the good moments," he told Cyclingnews.


“Because of that I want to dedicate this stage win to all the staff on the Astana team, all the mechanics, the masseurs and everyone else. Behind the riders there are 30 people who work for us and they all have families. It wouldn’t have been right if they’d lost their jobs because the team lost its licence.


“I don’t want to put in doubt the way the UCI works but I think everybody deserves respect. If there’s a bad apple in a family, then it's got to be eliminated but the rest of the family should be allowed to carry on with their lives.”

Tiralongo now turns his attention to the Giro where he will support Aru.

“Things would have been better without his problems because we’d worked hard for two weeks at Teide," he said. We were supposed to polish his form here at Trentino but he’s young and from tomorrow we’ll be up at Sestriere and we’ll do some hard work, simulating races to make up for him missing Trentino. He knows the efforts he’s made in preparing for the Giro and what he can do. We’ll be okay.


Porte has been strong since the beginning of the season and he showed it here in Trentino, but in the Giro there will be more riders to beat like Contador whom I know well, Uran who is hungry, and many other champions. But we will know how to be ready."



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