Westra performs well in Volta ao Algarve with Paris-Nice up next
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Westra performs well in Volta ao Algarve with Paris-Nice up next

by Kyle Moore at 2:09 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta ao Algarve
 
Third overall in Portugal indicates early season form

Lieuwe WestraLieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) could be ready for another assault on Paris-Nice in 2013, after confirming good early season form in his first two races. Westra just finished off his third place overall in the Volta ao Algarve by taking fourth in the concluding individual time trial.

Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won the time trial and the overall in Portugal, ahead of team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski. Jesse Sergent (Radioshack-Leopard) bettered Westra by a single second in the time trial, but Westra used his solid placing on the mountaintop finish the day before to solidify third overall. The Dutchman was third to the top of the Alto do Malhão behind Sergio Henao (Sky Procycling) and Rui Costa (Movistar) on stage three, and though he couldn’t hold off Martin, who was a minute quicker than the next finisher in the time trial, Westra did confirm his intention for Paris-Nice.

Other than a sterling Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling), Westra was without a doubt the strongest rider in Paris-Nice a year ago. He won the uphill stage to Mende and was second to Wiggins in the Col d’Eze time trial, taking the second step of the final podium. With his time trialing and climbing legs in good early season shape again, Westra indicated that he is in a good place in his preparations for early March.

“This is a good result for the moment,” he admitted. “The third place on Saturday and a good result in the time trial against an outstanding Martin are good for me. From here I will travel to my house in Spain to do the last preparations for Paris-Nice.”

It was a good news weekend all around for Vacansoleil-DCM, as Wout Poels made a successful return to racing after his devastating crash in the Tour de France last year, and Johnny Hoogerland was released from the hospital with a positive prognosis after being hit by a car earlier this month.

Poels took 14th on the Alto do Malhão and finished 23rd overall in Algarve. Hoogerland is recovering well from his accident and could take up racing again in early May.

Vacansoleil-DCM director Hilaire Van Der Schueren also spoke of the positives coming out of Algarve.

“Westra is on the podium, which is good especially in this field, and it is great to see Poels back on the bike,” he said. “The cooperation and shape of the team is promising looking towards the first big races here in Europe.”

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