Change of order!
With one of the strongest lead-out trains in pro cycling (Sagiv, Brändle, Dowsett, Zabel, Cimolai), ISN had a clear plan for today’s technical final: take responsibility and sprint with Rick Zabel (instead of Cimolai this time).
Zabel was happy that ISN gave him a chance today. “A big thanks to the lead-out train”, he said after finishing fifth. “Top-three might have been possible, if I was in a slightly better position in the last corner, but regardless my teammates were great in the final.”
After Guy Sagiv brought the lead-out train into position, the team wanted to take control of the race with Dowsett with 4.5 kilometers to go. The British ITT champion did exactly what he asked for, and took the lead with Brändle, Cimo and Zabel right behind him,
Brändle was supposed to lead Cimo and Zabel towards the final corner, putting them in position. He was right up there, but ISN was not the only team who wanted to lead into the last two 90-degree turns 600 meters before the finish line.
There was competition from UAE (Gaviria) and FDJ (Demare). Cimo and Zabel entered the finishing straight a few positions back. The Italian sprinter did one last pull to put Zabel on the wheel of Sagan.
Zabel launched his sprint but could not pass the riders ahead of him.
“Fifth is a good result, but we were a little bit too far back before the two last corners. I came with a lot of speed from behind, but I could not beat them anymore. We learn from each sprint and it was nice to see our train in front today – just like in any other flat stage.”
Sagiv confirmed that he and his teammates carried out the plan as briefed before the race. “We worked together to get our two fastest guys in the best possible position in the final few hundred meters. I think we did well.”
“Personally, I would have loved to help a little bit more than I did today,” Sagiv continued, “but I feel that I am not yet as powerful as I was before the crash last week.”