- In this race we had an opportunity to check our team before the Giro d’Italia. Most of this roster will go to Italy to support Miguel Angel Lopez. I think, we spent a good week here and some important job has been done. I saw the riders, who are coming to their best conditions and in a few weeks they will be ready. For sure, we still have something to improve, and we have time for that. But, I liked the atmosphere in the team and the way we raced here, - said Giuseppe Martinelli.
The fifth stage of the Tour of the Alps started in Caldaro and finished in Bolzano. It was a super hard day with cold and rainy weather and two monstrous climbs. Two Astana Pro Team riders, Nikita Stalnov and Dario Cataldo made part of a big breakaway group. In a moment this group had over 7 minutes of advantage over the peloton, thus Dario Cataldo has got a chance for fight for the final podium.
At the last climb of the day Altopiano del Salto two riders went away from the breakaway group: Fausto Masnada and Carlos Quintero attacked decisively to open a good gap. Finally, these two riders were able to come to the finish and to play the stage victory, taken by Masnada.
Dario Cataldo did his best to stay in the first chasing group and, finally, finished 4th, 1 minute 31 seconds behind the stage winner. This result brought him to the 8th position in the GC.
- There was a very strong breakaway group and the pace was really fast immediately from the beginning. When Masnada attacked I could not answer to this move because I suffered a lot from the cold. We had a fast and cold descent before that moment and my legs just did not respond well. However, I tried to push hard in our chasing group because we still had some chances for the GC podium. But, in the final everyone was too tired, while the GC contenders group was coming back too fast. Anyway, I am quite satisfied with this week because I’ve got a confirmation of all work done during the training camp in Tenerife, - explained Dario Cataldo.
- Honestly, we had a bit of bad luck today with the crash of Nikita Stalnov in the breakaway. He felt really good today and I think he was able to reach something nice in this stage. But, he crashed in the end of the first big descent and lost any chances to come back, - added Giuseppe Martinelli.
Behind the breakaway there was a fight for the general classification. The riders in the group of the race leader Pavel Sivakov tried to catch the break back and, in the same time, to change something in the overall standings. In the end of the day that group arrived 2 minutes 14 seconds behind the stage winner and, thus, Sivakov became the final winner of the Tour of the Alps. His teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart took second podium place, while Vincenzo Nibali did third.
Jan Hirt supported by Andrey Zeits did part of GC contenders group for a long time, but close to the top of the last climb he was forced to drop and to follow his own pace. Finally, Hirt arrived 1 minute 15 seconds behind the group of Sivakov. This result brought Jan Hirt to the seventh place in the general classification of the race.
- I think after two months without racing my performance here is a good one. I did my best today and during this week and, normally, I can be happy. Now, I hope to recover a bit and to do the final preparation for the Giro d’Italia, - said Jan Hirt.
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