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Tour de Romandie. Stage 1. Pello Bilbao is 6th, Kangert, Chernetckii and Kozhatayev in front group

Stage 1 of the Tour de Romandie has been held today between Aigle and Champéry (173,3 km). In the stage the peloton passed 5 climbs including the final one of 14 km long.

For Astana Proteam, it was a day to get its motivation back and to try to go on. The whole team tried to do a good race, all day being in front and helping two leaders, Tanel Kangert and Pello Bilbao.

Finally, both riders did it well, finishing in the leading group of 58 riders alongside two other Astana riders, Sergei Chernetckii and Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev.

- I felt good from the start of the stage and I think I have done a step ahead in building my shape. I was motivated to do a strong race today. Yesterday I also felt good legs, but my head was not into the race, the whole day I was thinking about Michele and the funeral which had place in Filottrano. So, I was not really concentrated. But, anyway, as far as I received some good answers from my body in yesterday’s prologue, today I tried to be in front and at least to give a moral to the team, to demonstrate to everyone that we are there in front and we are able to fight for a victory. And I think, generally, we did a good job with the entire team. In the final, I tried to attack. With 800 meters, I saw a small decrease of the speed in the peloton, so I tried to use this moment. It did not work, but this move put me in a good position for the final sprint. So, now we will wait for another opportunity in the next stages. I saw Tanel very strong today, so I will try to be there to help him as well. I hope, we can do a good race here, - said Pello Bilbao.

Despite a number of attacks on the final climb in Champéry, nobody could get a gap, so, finally, everything ended with a sprint from a reduced peloton, won by Swiss rider Michael Albasini. Astana riders were in good position in the final, thus, Pello Bilbao was able to finish 6th. Tanel Kangert finished 18th.

In general classification Italian Fabio Felline still holds the lead, while Pello Bilbao moved up to 19th position, +0.20 behind the leader.

Tomorrow will be held the second stage of the race: 160,7 km from Champéry to Bulle.

Photo credit: © Bettiniphoto

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