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Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. Stage 1. First European race for Astana

Astana Team has started its 2018 cycling season on European roads with the first stage of the 2.1 UCI Europe Tour race Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in Spain. Stage 1 of the race has been held between Oropesa del Mar and Peñiscola with a total distance of 191,4 km.

With only one climb at the middle of the distance, the stage provided a good opportunity for the sprinters. Thus, despite a long-day breakaway of 4 riders with around 5 minutes of advantage, everything ended with a predicted bunch sprint alongside the seacoast in Peñiscola. However, the final was a dangerous one with a high speed and a number of crashes.

- After the race in Australia, finally, we started our season here in Europe. I think, the first stage went quite good and calmly. The riders have got some racing rhythm, staying together and supporting each other. In the final we had some ambitions with Yevgeniy Gidich, the team helped him to get a good position in front, but with a few km to go someone crashed just in front of him. Fortunately, Yevgeniy avoided that crash, but with a short distance to the finish it was impossible to come back. Anyway, we are looking forward to the next stages here in Valencia, - explained sports director Dmitri Sedoun.

A 21-year-old Kazakh rider Yevgeniy Gidich just begins his career as a pro. Today, stage 1 of the Volta a Valenciana became his very first race in the professional peloton.

- This is my first race as a professional rider and I am happy to be here. I felt good during the whole day, but that crash in front of me ruined all chances for a good result, - remarked Yevgeniy Gidich.

The Dutch rider Danny Van Poppel won the opening stage of the race ahead of the Slovenian Luka Mezgec and the Belgian Jurgen Roelandts. All Astana Pro Team riders, including our leaders Jakob Fuglsang and Luis Leon Sanchez, finished in the main pack.

Stage 2 of the race will be held tomorrow: it will be a 154-km long race from Bétera to Albuixech.

Photo credit: ©Bettiniphoto

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