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WANTY GOBERT

Sazka Tour

Taaramäe: “Thrilling until the very end”


This Sunday at the final stage of the Sazka Tour (2.1, 5-8/8), Jan Bakelants and Jan Hirt started on the first row in Šumperk. It was familiar ground for Hirt, wearing the red jersey for best Czech rider, as he won this stage in 2014 and as he was born only 100 kilometer away from the parcours. Bakelants showed in the second race hour why he was eager to be at the front by bridging to the early breakaway of four riders. However, the leader’s team made the advantage of the leaders undone before the four local 7 kilometer laps in Šternberk. Rein Taaramäe and his teammates battled for bonus seconds and the stage victory in a very attractive final, but in the end they had to settle with four top 15 finishes: Taaramäe 10th, Petilli 13th, Bakelants 14th and Hirt 15th. Tobias Halland Johannessen took a second stage win and finished 2nd in the final classification behind Filippo Zana. Taaramäe managed to conserve his 3rd place in the final classification.

Team BikeExchange and our squad were the only teams doing the work in the peloton the previous days. So we thought the breakaway might have a chance on the stage win today. We worked hard in the beginning of the stage to give Jan Bakelants the opportunity to bridge to the leaders. In the end, the breakaway didn't stay ahead and the battle on the local laps was fierce. All riders having the legs tried to attack. Finally, two riders were stronger than the rest again. It was thrilling until the very end as it was unclear whether the commissaries would take into account the time gap behind me or not. It was a danger for my 3rd place in the general classification, so it was a big relief when my podium spot was confirmed. I can go home with a good feeling!

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