Taaramae believes he’s got a big fight ahead if he’s to win Critérium International
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Taaramae believes he’s got a big fight ahead if he’s to win Critérium International

by VeloNation Press at 5:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Critérium International
Believes time gaps could be hard to overcome in time trial

Rein TaaramaeUntil the final four kilometres, Cofidis rider Rein Taaramäe looked like he was going to be Frank Schleck’s chief rival for stage one of the Critérium International and, with it, for the overall classification.

Schleck attacked 8.8 kilometres from the line and only Taaramäe was able to go with him. Minutes earlier, he had been the only one strong enough to mark an attack by Schleck’s brother Andy.

The two drew clear and opened up a gap on the other riders. However Vasil Kiryienka (Team Movistar) managed to claw his way back into contention and ended up being the closest to Schleck when the Luxembourg rider surged 2.2 kilometres from the line.

Taaramäe fought on to the finish and reached it 22 seconds back, netting third place. “It was very tough. The whole race was very fast. It was always up and down,” he told VeloNation’s Bjorn Haake. “It made everybody's legs hurt. Even in the downhill you had to stay concentrated and really grab your handlebars.

“The attacks by Leopard Trek weren’t a problem as I knew they were going to go. I just needed to be on the wheel. I was the only one who responded to their attacks. I had good legs, but in the end I was done. I had constant cramps.”

Once in the break, Schleck’s winning move would come just over two kilometres from the line, immediately after a left hand curve. He dropped back on the uphill bend, then jumped hard, making sure that he was already going fast when he passed his two breakaway companions. Taaramäe wasn’t fooled; he just didn’t have it.

“I was sure Frank was going to attack. He was making a grimace and staying behind me for a bit. I was sure he was going to go, but I did not have the legs to follow him,” he admitted.

Unless there are major splits in the morning stage, the final GC will boil down to the concluding race against the clock. He’s got 22 seconds to make up on Schleck, who has done some poor time trials in the past, but who also raced well in one to win the 2010 Tour de Suisse.

He’ll ride as hard as he can, but didn’t sound too confident. “It will be really hard because it is only 7 kilometers, it is like a prologue,” he said. “You can lose ten seconds, maximum. Frank goes well in the time trials.

“I’m not saying the race is over, but it will be difficult. Kiryienka is also very strong and he has already done very good time trials.”


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