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Tour of the Alps. Stage 2. Jan Hirt takes second after impressive ride of all Astana Team

Astana Pro Team did an impressive race today at the second stage of the Tour of the Alps from Reith im Alpbachtal to Schenna/Scena (178.7 km). The riders of the Kazakh team were very aggressive in the final part of the stage, attacking one by one on the descent and later on the last uncategorized climb which led to the finish. 

The Kazakh rider Nikita Stalnov was super active, attacking for several times and, finally, creating a leading group of 5-6 riders together with another Astana rider Jan Hirt.

With 2 km to go it was Pavel Sivakov who made a decisive attack and only Jan Hirt was able to follow it. At the finish line Sivakov was a bit stronger, taking the stage victory, while Hirt finished second.

- I really wanted to win this stage as I felt quite good and it was our goal to fight for the victory today. But, in the end I just missed some power and could not really answer to the sprint of Sivakov. It is my first race after two months and I feel like I am missing some racing rhythm and I felt it on the last climb of the day. However, I am pretty happy with my form right now and I feel like I am improving day by day. We had a good team strategy for this stage and in the final I was able to come in front to join Nikita Stalnov in a group of 5 riders. The last climb was fast and hard, but I managed to follow Sivakov and to catch him with 2 km to go. In the end I did my best and finished second, - said Jan Hirt.

Also, Pello Bilbao and Nikita Stalnov finished inside the Top-10 of the stage (9th place for Bilbao and 10th position for Stalnov).

- We knew it could be a good selection on Passo Monte Giovo, and when Bahrain Merida increased the pace, our team stayed up there in front all together. At the top of the climb we still had 5 our riders in a group of 20. Later, on the descent and on the final part we tried to attack to reduce the group and to try to fight for the stage. Hirt said he feels good, so Nikita Stalnov decided to help him, attacking for several times and working hard in the break. Yeah, it’s a pity Jan did not win today, but in general I am happy with our team. Today, we showed that we have a good team, which is on the right way to the Giro d’Italia. For Jan Hirt it is just the first race after a long break and he is missing that racing power, but we will do this race day by day. Still three stages are ahead and we expect more selection in the next days, - said Giuseppe Martinelli, sports director of Astana Pro Team.

After stage 2 Pavel Sivakov moved into the lead of the general classification of the Tour of the Alps, while Jan Hirt is now second overall, 8 seconds behind the leader. Pello Bilbao is 8th and Nikita Stalnov is 9th in the GC, +0.53 and +1.02, respectively.

Stage 3 will be held tomorrow: Salorno – Baselga di Pinè, 106.3 km.

Photo credit: © Getty Images

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