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Sergey Firsanov wins in Azerbaijan

Sergey Firsanov wins the final stage of the Tour d’Azerbaijan. Bittersweet emotions for the Russian climber.

RusVelo rider Sergey Firsanov won the fifth and final stage of 2.1 Tour d’Azerbaijan, traditionally held in the country’s capital, in a late solo attack, crossing the line just ahead of Alexander Shushemoin (Kazakhstan national team) and the main bunch spearheaded by the Slovenian Matej Mugerli (Synergi Baku Cycling Project). This win moved Firsanov up to 5th in the GC.

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The Russian climber couldn’t hide his mixed emotions after the prize-giving ceremony:

“I came in Azerbaijan in very good form and could have hoped for much more than just 5th overall. Stage two put an end to these aspirations, and it was completely my fault, my serious tactical mistake. I didn’t take seriously the breakaway of that day, I was sure they would be caught; when I launched the counterattack and bridged over to them, the strongest ones had already escaped and had an advantage of more than three minutes. The following days didn’t give an opportunity to win back any time for a rider of my characteristics. So I focused on the last stage to finish the race on a positive note and to put good legs to a maximum use. It’s a victory of the team as a whole, every RusVelo rider gave it all playing his role in the tactical scheme. Alexander Evtushenko went away with two companions just a couple of kilometers after the start; this escape earned the maximum gap of more than 4 minutes and held on almost till the end. The race ended in three laps through the historic quarter of Baku, including a steep cobblestone climb. I bridged over to the guys in front, but the bunch driven by the Baku team. There was last chance left and I gave it all on the final climb, getting clear with Shushemoin and yet another rider. In this year’s edition the home straight was much shorter, so there was next to nothing of a flat after the descent and the last corner – all of this played into my hands.

And what a pity that I’ll have to take an enforced break in a couple of days! I’ll have to go under the knife again, they’ll fix my collar bone with a titanium plate. The first operation made right after my heavy crash at the Tour of Poland last year was anything but a success, the broken bone didn’t heal properly and this season it gave me a lot of hard time. I hoped I would live with it until the end of the season, but it has turned into a real problem, especially on bumpy roads. The doctors give me at least two months for a full recovery, it’s a lot of time, but that’s the way it is. On the positive side, it’s good that I took this win now, it will give me additional motivation to come back as soon as possible to perform strongly at the end of the season”.


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