In His Own Words: Neil Stephens on Vuelta a España Stage 7

Sat 25 Aug 2012

Allan Davis sprinted to third on the Motorland Aragon. The seventh stage of the Vuelta a España was for the fast finishers, and ORICA-GreenEDGE started the stage hungry to make the most of the opportunity.  Sports Director Neil Stephens describes the day.

There’s not much to say about the early action. There was a breakaway that posed no threat to the overall. Like us, Argos-Shimano wanted to see a sprint today, and they controlled the chase. As the gap began to come down, other teams went to the front to share the workload.

Twelve kilometers from the finish, a large crash in the field split up the race, but the crash didn’t impact us. We made it through in the front with the split.

Inside the final ten kilometers, the team came to fore with Daniel Teklehaimanot taking his place at the head of the bunch.  The team lined up on his wheel, Allan looked well-poised for the sprint.

Going into the final five kilomters, Allan lost his position on the hill before the finish. Unfortunately, he was  alone at this stage, and the boys didn’t realize it right away. The team did a great job talking control when they did. It’s unfortunate that this mistake cost us a chance of taking out the win.

John Degenkolb (Argo-Shimano) took the win again today with Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) in second. Allan can add today’s third place to his second place finish earlier in the week. In three sprints, he’s come top-three two times. He’s getting close.

The way I see it, we’re making small mistakes here and there. The team is giving a full effort, and every day I see improvements. It would be a different discussion entirely if we did everything right and still came up short. That’s not the case. We’re tweaking and looking to do things exactly the way they need to be done. In that sense, it’s a positive thing.