RusVelo: Following Alberto Contador
Two RusVelo riders, Sergey Firsanov and Ilnur Zakarin made it again to the top-15 on a climbers’ day of the Volta ao Algarve. They finished within 25 seconds off the winner, Tinkoff-Saxo leader Alberto Contador, taking 10th and 15th in the 4th stage. This brought them up to the verge of top-10 in the GC.
Sergey Firsanov, 11th in the GC: “There was a long breakaway, as normal, and it was duly controlled by the teams of the leaders in the general standings. When it was successfully chased down, a series of attacks broke the peloton apart, and we stood the selection into the first group. Riding with stars is a very important experience. We see where they excel; we can keep up with them most of the time and lose contact only when they start their really hard decisive acceleration. We’ve got a lot of respect for them, but there is nothing to be afraid of. Let’s keep in mind that it’s the first race of the season for us, and we hope to get closer and closer.”
Ilnur Zakarin, 12th in the GC: “I’d like to focus attention again on the way the team rides. I’ve never seen RusVelo so strong and well-organized. They gave me and Sergey an excellent lead-out before the mountains. I tried my leg in a breakaway attempt on the second to last climb, but the pack never let me go. I feel much better as a climber now, having lost five kilos in the off-season.
Yesterday we rode a race to remember, I’ve never taken part in a time trial as fast as that. It was downhill most of the time and we had a very strong back wind on top of that. I’m a lightweight time trialist, so this type of a race is not really my cup of tea, but it was fun with the current speed around 60 km an hour. It’s a pity I didn’t use a chainring bigger than my 54, this was not really enough. “
Next stage, the final one of the race, is predominantly flat, with a bunch sprint almost guaranteed. RusVelo aims at polishing their team skills while bringing sprinter Igor Boev to the front.