A lesson learned in Poland lifts Frederik Kessiakoff into the Vuelta podium positions
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Thursday, September 01, 2011

A lesson learned in Poland lifts Frederik Kessiakoff into the Vuelta podium positions

by Ben Atkins at 5:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Swedish rider careful not to get caught behind the split on the tricky sprint to Pontevedra

frederik kessiakoff

Frederik Kessiakoff (Astana), along with Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) was the key beneficiary of a split in the peloton on the tricky, uphill sprint into Pontevedra on the Vuelta a España’s twelfth stage. While time gained for Mollema edged the Dutchman a little closer to the race podium, Kessiakoff has lifted himself onto it, thanks to Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) uncharacteristically losing time.

Kessiakoff’s attentiveness, which saw him finish eleventh behind Nibali’s Liquigas-Cannondale teammate Peter Sagan, is thanks to a lesson learned by the Österreich-Rundfahrt winner in another WorldTour stage race earlier in August.

"I remembered that during the last Tour of Poland I finished 12th overall,” he explained, “because one day, during a stage that was played in the sprint, I wasn't placed at the head bunch and it made me lose precious seconds.

That day, the fourth stage between Oswiecim and Cieszyn, ironically also won by Sagan, he only finished as far back as 22nd. A split in the peloton behind the eighteenth man though, meant that the Swedish rider lost seven seconds to those in front of him. In a race that can be decided by mere seconds, this was a huge amount of time to lose.

“Otherwise I may have finished 5th or 6th overall of the Tour of Poland this year, which would have earned me UCI points,” he said.

He finished the race 35 seconds behind Sagan, the overall winner, but, had he not lost those seconds, he would have joined four other riders on 28 seconds behind, sitting in positions six to nine. With WorldTour points only awarded down as far as tenth, Kessiakoff’s twelfth earned him nothing in the season-long classification.

“So I learned the lesson and today I applied it,” he explained, “so that I earned time on Vincenzo Nibali who wasn't at the head of the group."

Unusually, it was Nibali that was the first rider to miss the front group, losing four seconds, where most others lost five, as he was unable to catch the wheel of teammate Damiano Caruso.

“I’ve lost one second [four seconds – ed] because I was on the wheel of Marcel Kittel [Skil-Shimano] who was stopping his effort,” Nibali explained.

Kessiakoff is currently riding his second Vuelta, having first taken part in 2009. This is the first time he has ever been in this position in a race of this size though, but is trying to stay cool.

"I’m continuing my race quietly,” he said, “and I’m taking it day by day!"

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