Agnoli, Rodriguez and Scarponi reflect on time gained on stage one of Volta a Catalunya
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Agnoli, Rodriguez and Scarponi reflect on time gained on stage one of Volta a Catalunya

by Shane Stokes at 3:01 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta a Catalunya
Three amongst selection of riders who got into decisive break

Valerio AgnoliStage runner-up Valerio Agnoli and general classification contenders Joaquim Rodriguez plus Michele Scarponi were amongst those who gained time on the rest of the main bunch today, being part of a thirteen man move which slipped clear inside the final twenty kilometres and hit the line 28 seconds ahead.

Sparked off by Bradley Wiggins (Sky), the break handed Agnoli a shot at taking the stage win, and a different kind of benefit to Rodriguez and Scarponi, who both gained time on the team leaders who missed out on the escape.

For the latter two, it means that their chances of winning overall has been boosted; for Agnoli, the result is a morale-boost, although he will also feel frustration that he was pipped by Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma Quick Step) for the stage win.

“Sky was protecting their riders after a small crash, and they got away with two or three other really important guys before anybody could react,” Agnoli explained.

He had originally been due to help set up team sprinter Andrea Guardini in the finale but when the move went clear, he tagged along and consequently had a chance to sprint for the victory.

That nearly worked out, but not quite. “Meersman had a lot more speed than I did in the final two hundred metres, but I'm happy with a podium,” he said. “The team has placed a lot of confidence in me this year, and I would have liked to pay them back with a victory. After Tirreno-Adriatico last week I feel good and will look forward to another day in Spain and another chance tomorrow.”

Rodriguez also made it into the move, but very nearly slipped out of it again due to an incident. “I’m happy I could stay with the group ahead. There was a crash in front of me in the last descent and I’ve almost had to stop,” he explained. “Because of this I lost around thirty meters from the other attackers and I had to make a huge effort in order to close this gap.

“Anyways, I think I’m in a good shape: the pace of the stage was so high, it was really a difficult one to be with the first [riders]. So, it’s good to be ahead.”

Scarponi won the race in 2011, moving up to the top slot after the original victor, Alberto Contador, was stripped of that title by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He’d very much like to win again, and took a small but important step towards that today by also getting into the move.

“This morning, I did not think it could be a decisive stage, I expected a bunch arrival,” he said. “Anyway, I knew the downhill could be selective, so I preferred to cover it in the head of the group in order to avoid crashes or troubles.

“Thanks to this decision, I could be in the lead group when the selection happened. I knew I would have had no chances in the sprint, but I'm happy because Niemiec – who was outstanding today - and I did not lose seconds in this stage.”


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