News: Svein Tuft wins Time Trial in Argentina


GreenEdge’s Canadian Svein Tuft won the Time Trial stage in the UCI 2.1 Tour de San Luis while Kwiatkowski leads overall for Quickstep

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Svein Tuft time trialed to the first international victory for ORICA-GreenEDGE during the Australian outfit’s second season. The eight time Canadian national time trial champion set a scorching speed of 22:14 over 19.2 kilometres. Tuft edged out Leandro Messineo (San Luis Somos Todos) by seven seconds to win stage four of Tour de San Luis. Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) rounded out the stage podium. A rider who graced British roads including the Lincoln Grand Prix, Alex Wetterhall was 12th for German Scottish teamn, NetApp-Endura.

“This time of year, I’m not always sure what I’m going to get,” admitted Tuft. “I’ve had good feelings, but I was a little surprised at how hard it felt when I was out there. I forget every year how hard it is. I think that’s what allows me to keep doing it.”

Tuft credits ORICA-GreenEDGE trainer Marc Quod with giving him an extra edge. “I did a lot of strength and endurance in the off season,” Tuft said. “Working with Quod has been really good. It’s probably been one of the better winters for me. I’ve focused on things that I don’t normally work. We kept the training really simple and I think that helped.”

“Another fortunate thing is that I came down early to Argentina,” he added. “I was able to adjust to the heat and riding in the local climate. That’s definitely been to my benefit.” The non-technical course suited Tuft’s strengths. It was a wide open highway-type course,” he said. “It included two roundabouts and a couple corners. That’s it. It was really simple in that sense. The wind was a bit difficult going out, and the downhill sections were super fast. It’s definitely a course made for me.”

Tuft carefully metered his efforts during the first half of the time trial and flew home during the second half. “The sections with the gradient were tough,” he explained. “I had to really put myself out there without going too far into the red too early. It was definitely important not to lose any time on the way out. I pushed hard and recovered where I could with the momentum I had already built. I think that really paid off for me. There are strong guys here, and I had to give it everything I had.”

Tuft ticked off a few key time trials he plans to target during the remainder of the season – specifically mentioning both the team time trial and individual time trial at Tirreno Adriatico and the individual time trial at Circuit de la Sarthe. Halfway through his list, he stopped himself with the realization that he targets every time trial he starts.

“I look to take advantage of every opportunity to time trial,” he said. “There’s never any guarantee of good form, so when I have it, I’m ready to make the most of it.” Looking at Tour de San Luis as a whole, Tuft has been satisfied with his first experience racing in Argentina.

“This is a really great race to start out the year,” said Tuft. “It’s not super high stress, but it is super high quality. Everyone is here to race their bikes. For January, it’s a really good race. I’m glad the team decided to race here this year.”

Michal Kwiatkowski leads for Omega Pharam Quickstep
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski said he would do his best to try and get the leader’s jersey in the Stage 4, 19.2km individual time trial on Thursday after placing 3rd on a mountain stage the day before. After all, time trials are his strength, but there were several time trial specialists near the top of the overall rankings.

Still, it was the young Polish rider who did exactly what he hoped to do — take over the GC lead by finishing 3rd in the stage, with a time of 22’25”. Svein Tuft (Orica GreenEDGE) won the stage, and Leandro Messineo (Argentina) was 2nd.

“It was really hot today, maybe more than 30 degrees,” Kwiatkowski said. “I did two laps of the TT this morning and knew the course was really simple. It had maybe two corners and two roundabouts, nothing really hard. The first part, everybody was trying to ride as fast possible because the second was really, really fast.”

Kwiatkowski — who showed he was a rising star on OPQS in 2012 with 108 UCI WorldTour points, a Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen ITT victory, and a 2nd in GC at Tour de Pologne — was able to take the leader’s jersey by besting the 22’47” time of top GC contender Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team). Kwiatkowski now leads van Garderen in the GC by 23″, and Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) by 42″.

“Tejay van Garderen will be, for sure, the guy who will try to go for the GC in the next days,” Kwiatkowski said. “I didn’t see the GC results, so it’s hard to say who else is a contender at the moment. Contador and Nibali are great champions, so maybe they will try to win the stage tomorrow or attack for the GC.” Kwiatkowski’s 3rd place finish was the 4th podium for OPQS in four stages at Tour de San Luis.

OPQS will defend the leader’s jersey in a grueling 169.8km Stage 5 on Friday. The stage concludes with a 10.5km climb averaging 7.2 percent, followed by several undulating kilometers. “Other teams, not sure how many riders, maybe eight or nine, may try to be in the break tomorrow, so it is not going to be easy,” Kwiatkowski said. “Some riders may try to win the stage, like Rodriguez of Katusha, for example. He may not be up for the GC anymore, but think he could go for the stage. A few riders who lost time in the TT today may try to win the stage as well.”

“I am just so happy I improved a lot from last year, and the team has supported me all the way to this season,” Kwiatkowski added. “I think if we go on like this, it will be very good to build the morale for the team.”

Mark Cavendish was the leading Brit in 47th place while Scott Thwaites was 106th and Jonny McEvoy 133rd.

Stage Result
1. TUFT Svein 22:14
2. MESSINEO Leandro +7
3. KWIATKOWSKI Michal +11
4 . NIBALI Vincenzo +14

7. VAN GARDEREN Tejay +33
9. CHAVANEL Sylvain +47
10. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen +52
12. WETTERHALL Alexander (Netapp/Endura) +55
13. CONTADOR VELASCO Alberto +57
45. SAGAN Peter +2:02
47. CAVENDISH Mark +2:07
106. THWAITES Scott +3:43
133. MCEVOY Jonathan +4:22
146. HUSHOVD Thor +4:50


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