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Kessiakoff Wins While Contador Rises

Discussion in 'Specialized' started by I-am-Specialized, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. I-am-Specialized

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    <p>The S-Works Shiv TT had a great day at the lone time trial in this year's Vuelta, taking the stage and closing on the overall lead. </p><p>
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    Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) blasted to victory and Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) surged ever closer to the leader’s jersey in a thrilling 39.4km individual time trial Wednesday at the Vuelta a España.</p><p>
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    The former mountain biker posted an early fast time 52:36 and sat much of the stage in the “hot seat” as the big guns fell short one by one of bettering his time. Kessiakoff, who wore the king of the mountains jersey and finished second in the competition during July’s Tour de France, couldn’t have been more thrilled.</p><p>
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    With the win, the Swede notched his second big time trial win of the season to go along with his stage win at the Tour de Suisse in June.</p><p>
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    “Since I beat Cancellara in the Tour de Suisse, I have learned to be more confident and set a steadier pace in the time trials. When I saw the route today, with some flats to start and then a climb and descent, I knew it was perfect for me,” he said. “Now we have less pressure on the team. We didn’t come with a GC rider, but we wanted to win a stage. Now I will try for the world championships.”</p><p>
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    While Kessiakoff got his moment in the Iberian sun, all eyes were glued on the tight GC battle.</p><p>
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    Contador proved he’s up to challenge for the overall victory with an impressive ride to lead the top GC riders with second in the stage at 17 seconds off Kessiakoff’s winning time.</p><p>
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    Joaquim Rodríguez rode beyond himself to defend his leader’s jersey by just one second to Contador, but the “pistolero” was more than happy with his performance.</p><p>
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    Though he fell short of winning a stage, he took important gains to archrival Chris Froome, who forfeited 22 seconds to Contador on a day when many expected the Olympic time trial bronze medalist and Tour de France runner-up to make gains against the Spanish mountain goats.</p><p>
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    “Sure, I would have liked to have won the stage and taken the jersey, but it wasn’t possible. Cheers to the others, because Kessiakoff and ‘Purito’ (Rodriguez) each rode a great time trial,” Contador said. “The most important thing was to have good sensations. The time differences are tighter than ever. The real Vuelta begins now.”</p><p>
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    Contador has been steadily gaining confidence and form as the first half of the Vuelta has unfolded. Though he has yet to win a stage, it’s not for a lack of trying. With his strong performance Wednesday, Contador takes confidence that he’s getting stronger at the most decisive part of the Vuelta.</p><p>
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    “I am feeling good. The sensations are improving, and that’s what’s important with what lies ahead,” he said. “The climbing stages in Asturias will be very important and I expect the GC to be settled there. The race is still close. The real battle has begun. Nothing is sure, but I will attack.”</p><p>
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    As Contador suggested, the 67th Vuelta is tighter than ever, with four riders packed within one minute of each other at the midway point of the three-week race.</p><p>
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    Thursday’s hilly stage with a short, but very steep uphill finale overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. With time bonuses waiting at the line, Contador is sure to attack to try to wrestle away the leader’s jersey, perhaps once and for all.</p>

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    #1 -   Sep 2, 2012

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