Weening and Wiggins each with important victories to celebrate
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Saturday, August 03, 2013

Weening and Wiggins each with important victories to celebrate

by Kyle Moore at 4:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Poland
 
Tour of Poland time trial proves prosperous after tough week

Pieter WeeningThe Tour of Poland came down to the wire on Saturday, with some exciting racing to decide the overall, as well as a dominant performance that earned the stage victory.

Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) took perhaps the biggest prize of his long career, much of it spent with the Dutch team Rabobank, extending what has been an outstanding summer for the Australian squad Orica-GreenEdge. And after having well-documented struggles for much of his season after becoming Tour de France champion, Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling) made it clear that he will be up for a visible and successful final portion of the year.

Unlike Wiggins in his Tour of a year ago, Weening got the victory in Poland without winning a stage. He was on the attack in the first of two stages in Italy to open the race, but missed out on the win. After that, the Dutchman rode a much more understated race, hanging with the dwindling favourites group through the grueling stages in Poland. With a few other riders playing the same game, the 37-kilometre time trial on Saturday was left to sort out the final standings, with five men within 30 seconds of each other when the day started.

Weening was the fifth of those five, facing a 27-second deficit to Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), with Jon Izaguirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff), and Sergio Henao (Sky Procycling) in between. But Weening was the best of them all, putting 21 seconds into Izaguirre and even more into the rest, resulting in a 13-second margin over the Basque rider, with Riblon finishing third.

“I knew that I had a chance to win and I gave it everything today,” Weening said afterward. “I came to the Tour de Pologne with the intention of fighting for the general classification, and it worked. It was a very tough race, with all those kilometres in the high mountains. The stage in Bukovina Tatarzańskiej and the first two days of the race were extremely difficult.”

Having gone up against Majka and Henao in time trials earlier in the season, Weening did not stand out as the favourite for the final yellow jersey. The Dutchman was happy he could stick to his plan and realize his goal.

“At the end we had to deal with the challenging time trial. It was not easy, so this victory is very important for me. After the first day of fighting in Italy, the difficult mountain stage from Rovereto to Madonna di Campiglio, when I finished in the top ten, I started thinking about the leader's jersey. I knew that I had a chance to get it.”

“You know, people seemed really surprised when we didn’t select Pieter for the Tour,” team director Matt White elaborated on the team website. “He had such a good Giro, and they thought it was an oversight on our part not to include him on the Tour team. Poland has long been a target, and that’s why he didn’t race the Tour. People might not know this but he’s run second and fourth at Poland in the past. It’s obviously a race that suits him. This year was the hardest edition because of the two stages in the Dolomites at the start.”

While Poland was one of Weening’s biggest ever statements, Wiggins made a simple statement of his own with the dominant time trial victory – he is returning to good form.

“I am very happy, it’s good to get back to winning after a year without individual successes, aside from two team time trials,” Wiggins said afterward according to Biciclismo.

“The course was brilliant, a great ride in great weather, and everything was ideal for me. I’ve been training really hard over the last six or seven weeks for this race, so I wasn’t too surprised to beat Fabian [Cancellara]. I was hoping to get a result like this because it confirms that the work I’m doing is good, that it’s working.”

Wiggins lost time in the mountains of the early week, as a challenge for the overall was not on his menu. But the time trial victory certainly indicates good things for his next goals – the Eneco Tour, the Tour of Britain, and the world time trial championship.

“The Tour of Poland was the hardest race I’ve done for a long time with the start in Italy with the Pordoi, then yesterday’s stage, and also the time trial today,” he added. “Every day was tough. But I’m working toward the world time trial championship in Florence, and I’m looking forward to that.”

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