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"The balance is very good. Throughout the whole week I felt very good and the team has been very good as well, very united. To finish 6th makes me happy, especially if you look at the level of the competition," Fernandez says

Photo: Sirotti






24.02.2014 @ 19:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tour de l'Avenir winner Ruben Fernandez proved that last year's win in the most prestigious U23 race was no fluke when he finished 6th in the Volta ao Algarve. Unfazed by the high-level competition, the youngster only had established WorldTour stars ahead of him in the general classification.


Last year Ruben Fernandez proved that he is a great stage racer in the making when he won the most presitigous U23 stage race, the Tour de l'Avenir. In his second year with Caja Rural, the 22-year-old has proved that there is a lot to come from him in future races by finishing 6th in the Volta ao Algarve.


Fernandez didn't get his season off to the best start as he abandoned the Etoile de Besseges and was far from the best in the Tour Mediteraneen. By the time, the Portuguese race started, however, he had found his best legs and delivered a splendid performance.


He already excelled in the hilly stage 2 when he was only one of 8 riders in the first major group that finished 17 seconds behind stage winner Michal Kwiatkowski. He limited his losses by taking a fine 28th in Friday's time trial and when he was 12th in Saturday's queen stage on the Alto do Malhao, he moved into 6th on GC.


"The balance is very good," he set. "Throughout the whole week I felt very good and the team has been very good as well, very united. To finish 6th makes me happy, especially if you look at the level of the competition."


The only riders ahead of Fernandez were established stars Kwiatkowski, Alberto Contador, Rui Costa, Alexandre Geniez, and Wilco Kelderman.


The performance completed a splendid week for Caja Rural that also had youngster Omar Fraile in 14th and he is likely to have finished in the top 10 if he hadn't had a mechanical in the time trial. New signing Peio Bilbao rode to a fine 8th in the queen stage.



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