Michael Albasini Sprints to Fifth Place from Reduced Bunch at GP Gippingen

Thu 12 Jun 2014

ORICA-GreenEDGE put it all on the line for Michael Albasini, but it was not meant to be on an aggressive day of racing in Gippingen. In a chaotic sprint to the finish, it was Simon Geschke (Giant-Shimano) who came out of the melee victorious. Albasini, the best place finisher for ORICA-GreenEDGE, claimed fifth on Thursday.

On lap two of twelve, the major break of the day went away with three riders leading the charge. Not feeling any threat from the break, ORICA-GreenEDGE was content to let the three ride until the gap reached 9’30. Although it was still early in the race, three riders from MTN and Mitch Docker went to the front to reduce the leader’s advantage before the separation become unmanageable.

With five laps to go, the effort from MTN and Docker had halved the gap. With three laps to go, the break had been further reduced to 2’30. As the peloton became anxious to catch the group, a huge surge blew the race wide open. The main field of more than 120 riders soon became 50. Minus Docker and Mathew Hayman, who did not start due to a knee injury, six riders from ORICA-GreenEDGE were represented to carry on their support of Albasini.

Crossing the line for the bell lap, Esteban Chaves found himself in a group of ten that had distanced themselves by 20” from the bunch. The break was short lived as Trek Factory Racing led a massive chase to intercept the breakaway that was caught halfway up the final climb.

The powerful surge from Trek Factory Racing further reduced the front group to 35 riders vying for the win, including Albasini and Simon Yates. As the finish line approached, BMC assembled their lead-out train on the front of the field. Catching the reduced bunch by surprise, there was an attack by two riders, Geschke and Silvan Dillier (BMC), who were able to stay away to the finish. With 350 metres to go, Albasini had no choice but to begin his sprint into the wind.

Comments From Sport Director Dave McPartland

We rode for Michael Albasini today. We knew we had to put someone in the break if it was five or six guys. The break went with only three, so we didn’t need to be in that move. Things unfolded according to plan for us until the very end.

Alba should be proud of what he did today. He’s been on a break since Romandie, and today was really about having a good hit out. Several of the guys are coming back from illness, injury and altitude camp, so they needed to blow out the cobwebs ahead of Suisse.

Simon has come back at a reasonably high level, which is good to see. He’s lacking a bit of race rhythm, but that’s to be expected. He’s been doing good work at home to be prepared and it’s noticeable. Today was his first day back – to finish in the front group tells us things are good.