Video: Defending champion Bagdonas reacts to An Post Rás stage win
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Video: Defending champion Bagdonas reacts to An Post Rás stage win

by Shane Stokes at 5:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Video
Lituanian searching for WorldTour or Pro Conti contract after Geox deal fell through

Gediminas BagdonasHaving gone close to a top contract for 2012 but being frustrated when the Geox TMC team he was due to race for fell apart, Lithuanian rider Gediminas Bagdonas has a clear focus this season. He’s gunning for a place on a WorldTour or Pro Continental team and takes part in each race with that goal in mind.

Bagdonas underlined his ability last season, taking a number of wins including stage victory in the Tour of Britain, overall honours plus two stage wins in the An Post Rás, a stage plus the overall in the Ronde de l'Oise and the national time trial championships.

He returned to the An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team this year when the Geox deal fell through, and has again been performing very strongly. He won the Ronde Van Noord Holland and was second in the prestigious Rund um Koln.

Yesterday was his latest strong result, with the 26 year old beating Marcin Bialoblocki (Britain Node4 Giordana Racing) and 51 others on stage three of the An Post Rás in Westport. He gave a video interview to VeloNation afterwards and said that he was satisfied thus far with his push for a second overall title.

“I won today’s stage, last year I won the general and two stages,” he said. “Me, the whole team, [the focus] is now just for stage victories, then later see, after five or six stages, maybe the general.”

By this stage of the race in 2011, he was already at the head of the general classification. This time round, he’s seventh overall; that’s fine by him. “Last year I had the yellow jersey too early and later we had too much work. Now everything is possible, just 22 seconds [back] and waiting for the hard stages. I think everything is possible.”

Bagdonas’ victory yesterday was as much due to the team’s organisation as it was to his strength. He was one of many rider who hit the deck on a day characterised by big pileups. Things worked out fine because the An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team were prepared for such occurences.

“Just before me a guy crashed, and I crashed and Sean [Downey] from the team crashed. I broke my shoes and had a bit of pain in the hands and legs,” he said. “I had to change shoes, lucky I had them [a second set] in the car.”

The race continues today with a flat, fast 135 kilometre race from Westport to Bundoran. A bunch sprint is the most likely outcome, but the open roads could also produce echelons. The one predictable thing about the An Post Rás is that it is seldom, if ever, predictable.

The general classification is currently headed by the Swiss rider Pirmin Lang (Atlas Jakroo). He is level on time with three others - James Moss (Britain Node4 Giordana Racing), Richard Handley (Britain Rapha Condor Sharp) and Bagdonas’ team-mate Connor McConvey, and the jersey could easily change hands, even in the final sprint.

For Bagdonas, the important thing is that he is feeling good and also that the team has options, putting it in a strong position tactically. “Conor is before me, he is also a good guy. Everything is possible. The whole team is strong. We normally always try to have one guy in the breakaway, that is perfect.”


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