Pieter Weening Retains Sixth Overall After Pais Vasco Time Trial

Sun 7 Apr 2013

Pieter Weening capped off an exceptional week of racing for ORICA-GreenEDGE in the Basque Country with a top ten finish on the stage six time trial. His time was good enough to retrain his sixth place standing on the general classification. Add Weening’s overall result to the stage wins from Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey on the first two days of racing, and the Australian outfit leaves Vuelta al Pais Vasco with exceeded expectations.

“Obviously, I’m thrilled with the ways things turned out for us,” said Sport Director Neil Stephens. “I put an X on the first two stages, and we pulled them both out. I wanted to give Pieter Weening a chance to do a decent GC [general classification] and he came out with sixth. They boys did better than I had hoped. The way we raced here and what we accomplished is another step forward for the ORICA-GreenEDGE team.”

Stephens joined Weening on a recon of the final stage time trial this morning. An undulating loop of 24 kilometres was set to decide his fate. Sixth on the overall after the penultimate stage, Weening was 25” behind Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Simon Spilak (Katusha), 2” ahead of Carlos Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale) and 10” ahead of Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)

“He knew the course well, and he was determined to do everything he could,” said Stephens. “When he went through the first time check, he was 10” down on Betancur. He was the rider we had been most worried about, and it wasn’t looking good. It looked like were going to drop down to seventh.”

Weening was determined not to slip down a spot on the overall, and he took a few risks on the descents in the second half of the race in the hopes of making back time on Betancur.

“He did a really hard final part of the race,” said Stephens. “The risks he took paid off. At the finish, he had only lost 1" to Betancur and finished well up on Sammy Sanchez. He held onto GC by 1".”

World Time Trial Champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) took a convincing stage win, and Nairo Quintana (Movistar), second on the stage, won the overall by virtue of his time trial. Weening slotted into ninth place on the stage, 1’06” down on Martin, to hold onto sixth overall. Back at the bus, Weening thanked his teammates for their hard week throughout the week.

“He’s very happy with the result,” said Stephens. “He credits his teammates with putting him in a position to achieve it. He thanked them all for the work they did.”

“We’re looking good leading up to the Ardennes Classics,” added Stephens. “This week is an important part of our build-up to our next set of objectives.”