At the start line in Porec, the whole peloton honored the memory of Michele Scarponi with a minute of silence. As a sign of sorrow, Astana riders worn the black ribbons.
- A tough day for all of us. Early morning we’ve got a terrible news about tragic death of one of our best riders Michele Scarponi, not just a leader, but also a true soul of the team, a big person. This is a huge loss for us, enormous stress. Once again on behalf of Astana Team I express our deep condolences to the family and friends, to his wife and children, remained without their father… A heavy blow for all of us. In such day it’s very difficult to stay concentrated and to think about the race. But, we are sure, the best thing the team could do in this day is to start, to fight strongly and to try to win in his honor, - said team sports manager Dmitriy Fofonov.
The 5th stage of the Tour of Croatia started in Porec and finished atop the HC category climb in Ucka. The distance of the stage was of 141 km. Astana Proteam did a strong race, supporting its leader Jesper Hansen. At the final climb, it was Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev, who provided a huge help to Hansen, leaving him with only 2 km to the top and launching in the end a solo attack.
Finally, Hansen did a good climb and finished 7th, only 20 seconds behind the stage winner, Spanish rider Jaime Roson.
- Jesper showed well himself today, he finished 7th. Also, Bakhtiyar did a strong race, he always was close to Hansen, while in the end he attacked just to force the rivals to work more. The result, shown by Jesper says he is coming into the shape, he is ready for the Giro. I believe, he will show himself in Italy and will fight for a nice stage, - added Dmitriy Fofonov.
As result of today’s stage Jesper Hansen moved up to 8th position in the general classification of the race, +1.20 behind new race leader Roson.
Tomorrow will be held the final stage of the Tour of Croatia: 146 km from Samobor to Zagreb.
Photo credit: © Bettiniphoto