GreenEdge sees big things from riders in Circuit Cycliste Sarthe
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Saturday, April 07, 2012

GreenEdge sees big things from riders in Circuit Cycliste Sarthe

by VeloNation Press at 6:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Circuit Cycliste Sarthe
 
Durbridge, Teklehaimanot and Weening succeed despite depleted squad

GreenEdgeHit by misfortune which saw the team three men down in the race, the GreenEdge team nevertheless triumphed in the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe yesterday, continuing its strong first season.

World under 23 time trial champion Luke Durbridge pulled off a major result, taking his first European successes with victory in Wednesday’s 6.8 kilometre time trial and then yesterday’s general classification success.

Staggeringly, those two wins come despite him being just twenty years of age. If he continues to progress, the Australian time trial champion has a very big future ahead.

Eritrean rider Daniel Teklehaimanot rode aggressively and continued to build experience. He’s 23 years of age and is also a neo pro; like Durbridge, many are tipping him for big things this year and beyond.

Directeur sportif Lionel Marie was impressed with what the riders pulled off, particularly after the team started one rider short and then Matt Wilson and Brett Lancaster were forced to pull out.

“I’m very proud to be part of this win,” he said. “It’s really amazing to realize that with only three guys - one in his first race of the season, one who is still learning and one who is having knee problems - we were able to pull off a win.

“Daniel has such big potential, and he is learning more every day. Pieter [Weening] was the guy that held everyone together. Luke is a class act. They each went out and did what they needed to every day to secure this win.”

Durbridge started the stage with a lead of just eight seconds over Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank) and Nelson Oliveira (Radioshack-Nissan). Seventeen others were within thirty seconds of the jersey, and ready to strike; things were tight, and the team needed to play things perfectly in terms of tactics.

The expected plan of letting a small break go up the road and mop up the time bonuses was foiled when a much bigger break of sixteen clipped away after eleven kilometres. It included a number of dangerous riders, including Pierrick Fedrigo (FDJ BigMat), who had started the day just fourteen seconds off the race lead.

It built a lead of fifty seconds, putting the Frenchman into the jersey. GreenEdge had put Weening into the move and he sat at the back, marking the break and, by being there, discouraging others by his presence and non-cooperation.

However with the gap remaining dangerous, he was asked to drop back to the peloton.

Meanwhile, Teklehaimanot did a lot of work in controlling the time gains of the group and to bring it back, working alongside the Colnago CSF Bardiani team, which had missed the move.

However once it was recaptured, another move went clear. He had enough strength to jump into this dozen-man break, and mopped up some of the time bonuses. Behind, Weening rode hard with the sprinters’ teams to bring things back together.

When that was successful, it meant that Durbridge was almost certain to win the race. However he admitted afterwards that he wasn’t sure how the bonuses would play out, explaining his attack with Brice Feillu (Saur Sojasun) inside the final three kilometres.

They were brought back, but things worked out fine. “When I crossed the line, I didn’t celebrate straightaway,” he explained. “There were so many guys so close on the overall, and I didn’t know how things had shaken out with the time bonuses during the stage.

“I wanted confirmation, for certain, that we had won. When I learned I had won by eight seconds, I was pretty happy. We didn’t necessarily head into the week expecting to win and that makes this a little bit more special.”

Like Marie, he praised the contribution of his two team-mates, which helped in making up for the missing riders. “Daniel and Pete rode incredibly this week,” he emphasised. “The whole week was great for me -- both the riders and the staff kept things really relaxed. We’re professionals, so we could switch it on for the race, but they kept it low pressure off the bike.

“It’s a dream come true for me to come out with the win in only my second race in Europe.”

It’s also a big success for the GreenEdge team, which has shown that it has a very talented rider in its midst.
 

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