Report: Toms Skujins Mallorca Challenge Day 3

Latvian star Toms Skujins rounded off an impressive display of teamwork to take his first victory in the Trek-Segafredo stripes

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Report: Toms Skujins Mallorca Challenge Day 3

Latvian star Toms Skujins rounded off an impressive display of teamwork to take his first victory in the Trek-Segafredo stripes at the Trofeo Lloseta – Andratx. He attacked with around 7 kilometres remaining and held off all competition to the line to savour a solo victory in Andratx.

Photo: Bettiniphoto

The race is part of the Mallorca Challenge, a series of four one-day races on the Balearic island. The race featured a hilly parcours over 165 kilometres, with two categorised climbs and rolling hills throughout. Such an amount of climbing combined with uncharacteristic inclement weather meant this race was never going to be easy.

There were many attacks from the moment the flag dropped, but none were allowed much breathing room due to the relentless pace of the peloton. Eventually, a group of escapees jumped clear for a while, but never gained a comfortable lead. Michael Gogl’s attack on a descent was the first to look threatening, and he gained a decent advantage of just over a minute over a reduced bunch. Gogl rode strongly and lead solo for 60 kilometers, an effort which earned him the day’s combativity award and set the stage for Skujins’ attack.

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After the race, Gogl gave his thoughts on his solo breakaway, “I got a gap and I heard over the radio “Just go!” So I went, I took the guys from the original breakaway straight away and I put the hammer down as hard as I could and I was really motivated, but I knew I was on a big mission so it would take a lot to hold it to the finish. But at 20km to go I still had a minute so I was still going full gas, giving it all I had. I’m really happy for Toms (Skujins) and for our team that we managed another win. It was a really big day and I think everyone saw what we are capable of doing here, and we are hungry for more.”

By forcing the other teams to do the chasing, Skujins had the perfect opportunity to launch his winning move in the closing kilometres. The young Latvian talent took his chance with both hands, holding off two looming chasers and the rest of the peloton all the way to the line to take an impressive solo victory – his first since joining the team – which takes Trek-Segafredo’s winning tally up to three this season. It was a successful day all round, winning both the stage (Skujins), and the combativity and combined awards (Gogl).

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“That was hard, much harder than expected”, said race winner Toms afterwards. “I was in trouble a lot of times but in the end with the teamwork we had it was just incredible. The way we rode today it was really a pleasure to be wearing the Trek-Segafredo Jersey. We never sat back, we were always up there for the action, and if it were not for Michael Gogl going on the attack for 60kms, we wouldn’t have won today. We saw in the end when Gogl was still solo – we had 3 or 4 guys in the next group so all we had to do was follow the wheels, and that we could go on the offensive again when he was caught.”

Sport director Steven de Jongh reflected on the successful day: “We said in the meeting that the plan was to race aggressively because that was the only way to beat Wellens and Valverde. The guys stuck to the plan, and Gogl went out with 70/75km to go. He did a really good ride and demolished the other teams chasing and when everything was back together with 12km to go we still had 3 riders in the front group. Then Toms (Skujins) saw an opportunity to attack and the other riders just hesitated and then they were looking back and saw Bauke (Mollema) ready to react. Then they were a little demotivated and straight away the gap was 10 seconds, then 15 and there were two chasers. Eventually he had 30 seconds over the bunch and held it all the way to the finish. Really good ride.”



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