Georges celebrates biggest career win while Velits looks forward
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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Georges celebrates biggest career win while Velits looks forward

by VeloNation Press at 11:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
D-day today in Tour of California

Sylvain GeorgesAg2r La Mondiale rider Sylvain Georges has described his stage win on yesterday’s sixth stage of the Amgen Tour of California as his most important achievement thus far in the sport, and sees it as a just reward for his team after some recent aggressive performances.

"It's obviously the biggest victory of my career. I was hoping for such a victory since the beginning,” he said after soloing in to the line. “I am a newcomer to the Ag2r La Mondiale Pro Cycling Team and this success shows, if need be, that I'm in this team to win!”

The 28 year old has been a professional for two years, riding with the BigMat Auber 93 team last year and then transferring across to Ag2r La Mondiale for 2012.

He clocked up four wins last season, namely two stages plus the overall in the Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour and also the Grand Prix Plumelec-Morbihan.

Yesterday, though, he stepped things up to a new level. He attacked just two kilometres into the 187.3 kilometre stage to Big Bear, joining six others in forming a good breakaway group and building a decent lead. Then with 45 kilometres remaining, he surged ahead and pushed out alone.

“I saw at the outset that some riders were not in very good shape while on my part, I had good feelings. I was confident but I really started to believe in my chances at km 120. There, I thought that we had to speed up and it could be possible to score the stage win,” he said.

While the peloton ramped up the chase behind, reeling in the other riders, he had a sufficient buffer and managed to reach the line 28 seconds clear of a chasing bunch led home by Peter Sagan (Liquigas Cannondale).

Amazingly, after waiting over five months for a win, yesterday saw his Ag2r La Mondiale team pick up two victories. The first was by Sébastien Hinault, who clocked up stage three of the Circuit de Lorraine and ended the longest drought this year for a WorldTour squad.

The second, and bigger of the two, was Georges’ triumph. He believes the team was due some success after trying hard in recent days. “This victory is a reward for the team that did great work since the start of the Tour of California. Every day we tried to attack with the goal of winning a stage and now it paid off,” he said.

Meanwhile Omega Pharma Quick Step rider Peter Velits was one of many race favourites who bided their time and remaining in the peloton in advance of today’s crucial stage to Mount Baldy.

However, although he didn’t got on the attack, he still advanced up the general classification thanks to the time bonus he picked up for third on the stage. He is now fourth overall, 45 seconds off the yellow jersey of Dave Zabriskie, and said that today’s race would be the big decider.

"I didn't feel good, but the stage was not so hard," he stated afterwards. "I can't say how the other competitors are pedalling. For tomorrow, I can count on a great team. I'm really looking forward to it.

"I know the climb, I did it last year so I know what it's like. I'm going to try my best, so we'll see what is going to happen tomorrow. The whole day is kind of hard. The finish is quite steep, also."


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