Sylvain Chavanel: “In order to win, you have to risk losing”
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Monday, August 22, 2011

Sylvain Chavanel: “In order to win, you have to risk losing”

by Ben Atkins at 2:59 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
French champion misses out on Vuelta stage victory and red jersey after solo chase of Pablo Lastras

sylvain chavanelSylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) was the strongest rider in the five-man move that escaped early in the third stage of the Vuelta a España between Petrer and Totana. The French champion began the day one second behind breakaway partner Pablo Lastras (Movistar), but managed to move himself three seconds ahead through bonuses at the intermediate sprints.

Chavanel looked odds on to take the stage but, on the steep 3rd category climb to the Alto de la Santa with 12.6km to go, Lastras attacked and soloed to the finish.

"Today I had a great race,” said Chavanel afterwards. “I spurred the break right from the start; I knew that with this heat it would be hard for the peloton to stay in control.

The group of five’s lead topped out at 7’53” after 68km, but the group became four midway through the stage as Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) dropped off, having visited the race doctor’s car. With nobody driving the peloton with any conviction though, it became clear that the remaining four would stay away to contest the victory.

With Chavanel the strongest, and with Ruslan Pidgornyy (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Markel Irizar (RadioShack) having no red jersey ambitions, he was to get no help when Lastras attacked.

“We collaborated really well until the last climb,” Chavanel explained. “At 600 metres from the top of Alto de la Santa, Lastras took off and I couldn't follow him because I was starting to get cramps. On the slight rise towards the finish I gave it everything I had to catch up to Lastras, but there wasn't much collaboration with Pidgornyy and Irizar.

With the French champion doing all the work to pull back the Movistar rider the three chasers managed to get close in the final kilometres. As he looked to the others for help though, Lastras began to slip away and took the stage by 15 seconds.

“When we got to within nine seconds from Lastras with only three kilometres to go to the finish line we started sizing each other up and Lastras gained a few seconds advantage,” Chavanel continued. “It wasn't up to me to do all the work to catch up. I wanted to win the stage and often, in order to win you have to risk losing. I gave it everything I had; I couldn't have done more.”

After a miserable Tour de France, where he struggle to recover his fitness after a crash on stage five, Chavanel is enjoying a far better Vuelta so far.

“Anyway, I'm happy with my form, I feel good and I'm going to try again,” he concluded. “Congratulations to Pablo. He was the strongest today and he's a great rider.”


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