- Article published:
- April 3, 2013, 14:51
- Barry Ryan
Swiss rider is the man to beat on Sunday after Tour of Flanders win
How do you solve a problem like Fabian Cancellara? The conundrum facing the peloton ahead of Paris-Roubaix seems an insoluble one and Luca Paolini (Katusha) responded with gallows humour when the question was put to him in Antwerp on Wednesday morning.
"I don't know - maybe we'll have to try with a gun and shoot him," Paolini told Cyclingnews with a hollow laugh, before acknowledging that jumping the gun is a more viable proposition than firing one. "Nah, I think the only solution is to try and anticipate him."
Two years ago, of course, Garmin manager Jonathan Vaughters quipped that it would take a sniper to stop Cancellara on the pavé but ultimately it was one of his own riders, Johan Vansummeren, who upset the odds by attacking early and building up a sufficient lead to hold off Cancellara's ferocious pursuit in the finale.
Vansummeren's cause was helped by the presence of teammate Thor Hushovd as a fast-finishing irritant on Cancellara's rear wheel, and Paolini will line up on Sunday with another rapid Norwegian for company on the Katusha team, the in-form Alexander Kristoff.
"We'll be looking to finish on the podium at least, either with me or with Kristoff," said Paolini, who was speaking outside Antwerp's MAS museum before the start of Scheldeprijs. "It's a tough race but we're taking care to work hard by racing here today, and then tomorrow we'll have a look at the sectors of pavé for Roubaix.
"It's important to come here because it keeps your eye in - it keeps you in race rhythm and it keeps you focused. Racing is the best thing to do to keep it going between the Flanders and Roubaix."
Although Paolini began his professional career alongside Cancellara at Mapei in 2000, their paths quickly diverged - the Swiss dedicated himself to the pavé, while Paolini found himself in the retinue of Paolo Bettini and did not end up making his Paris-Roubaix until 2010, at the age of 33.
"I don't regret that because I had other objectives before," said Paolini, who enjoyed his best finish in Roubaix last year, placing 11th. "I should have a place in the top 10 but I was a bit unlucky and maybe I was lacking a bit of experience in the finale. I'll try and improve on the result this year."
Indeed, the veteran Italian has been enjoying a remarkable Indian summer of late. Following his implication in the Operazione Athena doping scandal [it was eventually announced in late 2011 that he would not be charged], Paolini spent three seasons outside the WorldTour before joining Katusha in 2011 as support for Filippo Pozzato.
Paolini remained with the Russian squad after Pozzato's departure ahead of last season and he has been a strong performer on the cobbles since. At Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in February, Paolini claimed his first victory since 2009 by out-sprinting Stijn Vandenbergh in Ghent.
"Het Nieuwsblad was a first test, and it went well, and I've placed well at Milan-San Remo [fifth], Harelbeke [eighth] and the Tour of Flanders [23rd, in the main chase group] since, so now I want to finish the spring well at Paris-Roubaix," Paolini said.
- Article published:
- April 3, 2013, 17:11
- Brecht Decaluwé
Spaniard accused of being Clasicómano by Dutch newspaper
The Dutch Vacansoleil-DCM team has defended its Spanish classics specialist Juan Antonio Flecha from accusations that he was a client of Spanish doping doctor Eufemanio Fuentes back in 2006. The morning prior to his participation in the Scheldeprijs, a Dutch newspaper Volkskrant made the claims based on its own investigation of the Operación Puerto documents. The report linked Flecha to the code name Clasicómano or number 33 in the coded client list; allegations which, if proven, could lead to the immediate dismissal of the 35-year-old Spaniard.
Frank Kwanten, commercial manager and press officer for Vacansoleil-DCM and team director Aart Vierhouten spoke to Cyclingnews about the accusations. The duo said that they informed Flecha the morning of the race about the article. "He reacted calm as the story didn't come up since yesterday. It was to be expected that one day something would happen with it. There's not much more to be said about it, not from his side either. He shrugged and said that we knew what his position was in this case. This story doesn't change anything to that," Vierhouten said.
Vierhouten added that the hunt for riders by newspapers wasn't something the teams should just accept. "This has been going on for about two years now. It does not mean that once a rider is named in a news story - like this story - that we should send him home with his suitcase right away. That's a bit short-sighted. That is why we, as a team, stand behind our rider," Vierhouten said.
Back in 2006, Flecha rode for the now much-accused Rabobank team. After a four-year stint at the Dutch team, Flecha moved to Team Sky for three years before joining Vacansoleil.
The claims from journalists Mark Miserus and Robert-Jan Friele were based on entries in the Operación Puerto files from 2006 in which a rider with the code 'Clasicomano' or '33' withdrew blood on January 19, April 24 (twice) and May 13 2006. According to that same plan the blood was re-injected twice, on March 5, before Tirreno-Adriatico, and March 30, three days before the Tour of Flanders. That year Flecha finished fourth in Paris-Roubaix after an aggressive ride on the cobbles.
During the rider's last visit in May, doctor Fuentes was shadowed by the Spanish police but there seem to be no phone taps in which Flecha appears. Many top riders were linked and later banned to Operación Puerto, including Ivan Basso, Alejandro Valverde, Santiago Botero, Jörg Jaksche, Jan Ullrich and Michele Scarponi.
Last October Rabobank announced it would withdraw its sponsorship from professional cycling due to links of its past riders to doping, including Michael Rasmussen, Rolf Sörensen, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Boogerd and Thomas Dekker, all of whom have recently admitted to their misdeeds. However, other riders from the 2006 squad such as Graeme Brown and Erik Dekker have denied any involvement in doping.
The Dutch cycling federation (KNWU) has just completed a survey of the riders and staff of the three Dutch WorldTour teams in which each member was required to truthfully declare any past doping offences. No new admissions were made after those of Grischa Niermann and Rudi Kemna, both currently suspended from directeur sportif duties with the Rabobank Continental and Argos-Shimano teams, respectively.
Under the agreement, if the allegations against Flecha can be substantiated, he would face immediate dismissal from the team, but according to Kwanten he is not bothered.
"Flecha is super professional and has been building up to this part of the season since November. He wants peace of mind and this is not beneficial in that way. He will not comment. It's useless to react right now and we agree.
"We don't want to ignore this news but we will explore the available information - with Spanish authorities and the author - before sending him home. Flecha will focus on today and on Sunday. We want to find out on what basis the author is writing this information," Kwanten said.
"The article mentions the two times we questioned him about these accusations. First before we hired him and then a second time for the Declaration of Behavior. We specifically asked him if he was Clasicómano. On both occasions he denied the link. Besides that we were able to add the blood profiles from the biological passport since 2008. We asked the UCI whether there were any investigations in which he was named. We do that for all our riders. From there we start working with our doping expert Douwe de Boer. We don't hire riders which are under major suspicion or manipulations are assumed."
Kwanten said that the team can only wait for further evidence before taking any action. "Now it's a matter of coming up with the necessary evidence. We will ask [the journalists] to view their sources. For now it's difficult to keep [Flecha] sidelined, taking employment rights in mind," Kwanten said.
Back in 2010 the Dutch team signed Spanish Grand Tour specialist Ezequiel Mosquera but shortly afterwards the rider tested positive for a banned product Hydroxyethyl Starch (HES). The team kept him sidelined until a verdict was called and eventually Mosquera never rode for the team. "That was different," Kwanten said, "because the doping claims were leaked by the Spanish federation who said they found a product of the second category. It allows one to race on while being further investigated. Eventually they found something."
The team's main sponsor Vacansoleil is currently examining its investment in the cycling team. In addition to the bad press on Mosquera, the team has also had to face similar instances with Riccardo Ricco and the more recent allegations against Jose Rujano and now Flecha. Team manager Daan Luijckx denied this in last week's interview with Cyclingnews that the allegations bother him in finding a sponsor.
- Article published:
- April 3, 2013, 18:01
- Barry Ryan
RadioShack rider falls but finishes Scheldeprijs
Fabian Cancellara's Paris-Roubaix preparations suffered a scare at Scheldeprijs on Wednesday afternoon when the RadioShack Leopard rider crashed midway through the semi-classic.
Although his torn shorts revealed a contusion near his left hip, Cancellara was able to remount and rejoin the peloton, and given that he went on to finish the race in Schoten, the early outlook is good.
Even so, the RadioShack Leopard team was leaving little to chance at the finish. Cancellara was hastily shepherded away from the microphones and cameras and onto the team bus, where he was examined by the team doctor. Shortly afterwards, manager Luca Guercilena emerged with the initial prognosis but said that the situation would be assessed overnight.
"The biggest hit was on the gluteus and that's the muscular situation but that is close to the sacrum joint so that is something to investigate when he cools down," Guercilena said. "He didn't consider abandoning because it was good to arrive at the finish and when the muscles are still warm, you can do it. It was not a bad, bad crash but it's not the ideal situation we wanted."
Guercilena described Cancellara's crash as typical and said that he could not avoid hitting the ground as two riders had fallen directly in front of him. "He was in the first echelon but he was unlucky," Guercilena said. "Two riders touched in front of him and he couldn't jump over it, so he touched them and he was on the ground. He's checking now with the doctor and we'll see tonight and especially tomorrow morning how he is."
Cancellara is the overwhelming favourite for victory at Paris-Roubaix in the wake of his emphatic win at the Tour of Flanders last weekend. Guercilena dismissed the notion that Cancellara would have been better served by forgoing Scheldeprijs and limiting the risk of an accident upsetting his Roubaix preparation.
"His condition is quite high but it was good to do some kilometres in the bunch with a high rhythm," Guercilena said. "A crash can always happen, but at least it happened when he was in front, so even though it's never nice, it happened in a good situation. So we are quite confident."
For now, Guercilena said, Cancellara is aiming to continue with his planned build-up to Paris-Roubaix. "Tomorrow will be the typical recognition of part of the course, and then an easy ride on Friday and Saturday," he said. "Right now, we're keeping the same programme but we'll see how it is.
"The goal is always next Sunday but that's the situation right now after the race but we need to wait until tomorrow morning, which is always the way with this kind of crash. It's not that bad now but you have to sleep on it and decide after what is the right thing to do. It's evident that it's not a real bad injury but we would like to be sure tomorrow how it is. Anyway, it's not the ideal situation to arrive to Paris-Roubaix."
- Article published:
- April 3, 2013, 19:48
- Brecht Decaluwé
No birthday diamond for daughter Delilah
What was supposed to become a glorious day ended up an exercise in frustration for Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) at the 101st edition of the Scheldeprijs. The Manx Express fell just short of grabbing a record-breaking fourth win at the finish in Schoten and the winner's diamond, finishing a close runner-up to back-to-back champion Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano). Cavendish lacked the lead-out which Kittel had in the final kilometres. Being too far back in the peloton, Cavendish was unable to overtake the German sprinter who was perfectly launched, that in spite of undoubtedly riding the fastest sprint in Schoten.
After crossing the line, a clearly disappointed Cavendish searched for his fiancée Peta Todd and daughter Delilah Grace. After receiving a big hug Cavendish headed for the podium where the top-three of the day would be honoured. Before and after that ceremony Cavendish expressed his disappointment to the press.
"I came from 20 [positions] back with 200 [metres] to go. That's it. It's too far back," Cavendish told Sporza in an assessment of his sprint to the finish. When pressed on whether he lacked support in the finale, Cavendish said, "I guess so, in the final, yeah. The consequences of today's sprint? I don't know. We rode so well. The whole day we ride so well until the last two kilometres. I don't know."
When asked another question to find out what went wrong a frustrated Cavendish replied, "Can we talk about something else please, is that ok? I don't know what went wrong. I didn't win the bike race."
After returning from the podium, Cavendish acknowledged the work his team had done leading into the hectic closing kilometres. "The guys were brilliant the whole day but once again I was left alone in the final. On another day it could've worked out but today it didn't. I was coming, coming, coming... I went to go with maybe 250 to go but [Romain] Feillu was just coming around so actually it was 50 metres more to start. I just ran out of time. Was I too far? I'll have to look at the video to judge on that. It can happen that if you come from the top-five that you come from too far."
Cavendish praised the now two-time Scheldeprijs winner Marcel Kittel. "It's Marcel Kittel who won so it's not like it's not one of the best guys in the world. So I can't be too disappointed about that."
Five hours earlier it seemed like there was no way Cavendish would be beaten in the Scheldeprijs. Coming into the this year's edition it was clear Cavendish had set his mind on grabbing a record fourth win in Schoten, on the outskirts of Antwerp. Back in 2007 a then 21-year-old and unknown Mark Cavendish, riding for T-Mobile, beat the best sprinters in the world in Schoten for his breakthrough win as a professional.
Every time Cavendish has returned he's triumphed, first in 2008 and later in 2011. "I rode it three times, won it three times. I like it here. Antwerp is a beautiful city and I'm excited to try and get the win today," Cavendish had said.
The Scheldeprijs race organizers tried hard to get Cavendish back at the start of their race and promised the winner a diamond, the export product of Antwerp. Still, Cavendish had to win the race. "I'm going to try and win. It's a special day. It's the birthday of my daughter and it would be a nice present for her," Cavendish said prior to the start.
Coming into the race Cavendish was level with Petrus Oellibrandt, a Belgian rider who racked up his three wins in the early 1960s. "I know him. I met him last year. Breaking the record would be nice but we can't bank on it. There's a lot of strong teams here and a lot of strong sprinters," Cavendish said.
Last year, Marcel Kittel won the Scheldeprijs bunch sprint in Schoten but he wasn't showing great form so far this year. Arch rival André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) opted to skip the Scheldeprijs in order to be fresh for Paris-Roubaix on Sunday. It all played in Cavendish's favour but he didn't want to claim the win before the race was ridden.
"It's always a special race here. We've got a strong team here. It would be nice to win it four times but it's not an easy race. It's the oldest race in Belgium. Everybody wants to win here. It's quite windy today. I'd like a smaller sprint because last year there were crashes," Cavendish said.
Before the race Cavendish acknowledged that without Tom Boonen, who's recovering from a crash sustained during last Sunday's Tour of Flanders, the team wasn't quite as strong as with the Belgian champion. "Having him here would be a very big advantage. We've got a very strong team here. All the guys are going really win but I miss Tom here for sure," Cavendish said.
- Article published:
- April 3, 2013, 20:17
- Barry Ryan
German beats Cavendish in head-to-head for first time
Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) claimed his first head-to-head victory against Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) at Scheldeprijs and then added insult to injury by claiming the very prize that the Manxman had coveted, a diamond presented by the city of Antwerp.
It was Kittel's second successive Scheldeprijs victory and he admitted that Cavendish's presence lends greater cachet to this year's triumph. The two sprinters have raced against one another infrequently since Kittel turned professional in 2011, and finally getting the better of Cavendish was, in effect, the formal delivery of the German's credentials as a member of the sprinting elite.
"I think this is the first time that I beat him in a straight sprint," Kittel said afterwards. "For me that's the direction that I want to go: to be one of the best sprinters in the world, and I think today was a very good step in that direction. I want to be well up as a sprinter and get big wins, and it's good to have this one in the pocket."
Cavendish, of course, is rarely if ever beaten for pure speed and he started his sprint from significantly further back than Kittel but ran out of road before they dived for the line. Even so, a bunch sprint does not take place in a vacuum, and Kittel showed poise and power to eke out and then grab his opportunity.
"It was always pretty hectic at Scheldeprijs. There are so many sprinters and simply not enough space for every team. Most of the time you end up in a mix of some lead-out guys from a lot of teams and then you do the sprint," said Kittel. "With 700 metres to go, I thought I was boxed in but Tom Veelers came on the left side, and then he brought me to the front and did a lead-out."
Not that it was all plain sailing from there. After emerging from the stormy waters of the peloton, Kittel still had to navigate a headwind to reach the line ahead of the fast-closing Cavendish. "I started my sprint early on the left side and maybe that surprised him because there was some headwind on the finish line," said Kittel. "If I'd been totally in the front and could have chosen when to start my sprint, I would have probably have started a bit later, but I just had to go when I did."
As well as a prestigious scalp, there was an additional accolade awaiting Kittel atop the podium. The city of Antwerp's old custom of presenting a diamond to the Scheldeprijs winner was discontinued shortly before Cavendish chalked up the first of his record three victories in 2007, but with his gentle encouragement, the tradition was reinstated for this year's race.
Kittel was unaware of the story behind his prize until it was explained to him in the press room afterwards. "Oh shit," he grimaced. "Maybe they can give one next year again."
Before then, however, Kittel will be hoping for a series of re-matches with Cavendish at the Tour de France. Illness ended his Tour prematurely last year ("It was a shit start - literally - and I'm really looking forward to this year's Tour to do it better," he grinned) and Kittel is already making plans for his preparation.
"It's not certain what my last races before the Tour will be, but it is certain that I will have a high altitude camp beforehand," he said. "The next challenge is to find a good location. It's not easy for a sprinter as there are not a lot of places where you can be at altitude but still train on the flat."
Kittel was also asked for his reaction to the news that the Dutch Cycling Federation's doping questionnaire, issued to all riders and staff from Dutch-registered teams, had not yielded confessions beyond those made by directeurs sportifs Rudi Kemna (Argos-Shimano) and Grischa Nierman (Rabobank Continental) earlier this year.
"I cannot look in the heads of everyone there. Now the responsible people have to find an answer to the questions they have," Kittel said. "It's definitely not satisfying, but it's not only up to me. The team managers have to talk now and discuss it, and I expect that from them."
- Article published:
- April 3, 2013, 21:00
- Pat Malach
Specialized-lululemon rider might resume racing by end of April
Evelyn Stevens is recovering well from her crash last month at Classica Citta di Padova and could be racing again by the end of April, Specialized-lululemon General Manager Kristy Scrymgeour told Cyclingnews this week.
Stevens hit the deck face first during a high-speed crash while negotiating a roundabout in the Italian race, suffering lacerations and several broken teeth. Although the injuries looked horrific at the time, Scrymgeour said they are mostly superficial and shouldn't keep Stevens off the bike for too long.
"Considering the nature of her crash, her injuries are remarkably few and she's healing well and quickly," Scrymgeour informed Cyclingnews this week via email. "She had quite a few stitches, but all seems to be going well now that these have been removed, and aside from a couple of teeth that need capping she's doing fine and eager to race again soon."
Although it doesn't appear that Stevens will be able to defend her 2012 win at Flèche Wallonne on April 17, Scrymgeour said that because Stevens did not incur a concussion in the crash, she could be back for Gracia Orlova at the end of April.
The spring Classics have been rough on the American-based women's UCI team, which lost veteran sprinter Ina-Yoko Teutenberg to a crash at Drentse 8 a little more than a week before Stevens' mishap. Teutenberg was unconscious for several minutes after the crash and continues to suffer from "substantial post-concussion syndrome," Scrymgeour said.
"We need to take it step by step with her coming back to racing," the Specialized-lululemon general manager said. "So far she's only able to do light exercise. I would say it could be mid-May or even later before Ina starts back racing. We'll see how it goes, but we don't want to rush it."
Despite having lost two of the team's strongest riders for much of the spring Classics, Scrymgeour said, the injured riders' teammates have rallied with podium finishes by Ellen van Dijk in the past two World Cup races at Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Tour of Flanders.
The team's European squad is competing at the Energiewacht Tour in Holland this week, while a North American contingent battles at the Redlands Bicycle Classic April 4-7 in California, and Scrymgeour is eager to see what else the team can accomplish as riders step up to fill the void left by Teutenberg's and Stevens' absence.
"We're looking forward to having Evie and Ina back on the team, and the rest of the girls have been very supportive in their recovery," Scrymgeour said. "But in some ways, from our perspective, it's not a bad thing to lose your leaders for a few races as it creates an opportunity for other riders to fill different roles."
- Article published:
- April 3, 2013, 22:33
- Jane Aubrey
Dutchman runs out of options in final metres
Theo Bos had been hoping to earn his fifth win of the season at the Scheldeprijs on Wednesday but the Blanco team's plans went awry with key leadout man Graeme Brown suffering a mechanical on the finishing circuit.
What hurt most of all, was to come away from the race without a result with the team working tirelessly all day to ensure that Bos was in the right place when it mattered. Moreno Hofland had fallen earlier in the crash that also took down man-of-the-moment, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard), but the team pushed on and were consistently on the front, with a three-man break up ahead for much of the race.
Blanco had put all their resources into delivering the Dutchman to the finish line, however he could only manage eighth place in the chaotic sprint.
"I had hoped I was there in the mix but I just missed a little extra," Bos told Cyclingnews. "It was not perfect. I had to have a perfect race to win, but I was not perfect and the legs are not strong enough to make up the difference."
With 14 kilometres to go, Brown was forced to the side of the road with a puncture. Isolated, he had to wait for a spare bike from the roof of the team car. While there was enough time for Brown to re-join his teammates, with "1.5km left to go, I was cooked," the Australian told Cyclingnews.
"It was difficult after that," Bos said. "At the end we were there but I had to change plans. Maybe it hurt us."
Mark Renshaw stepped in for Brown, dropping Bos into position with 500 metres to go. Bos held third wheel. At 75 metres to go, Bos was head-to-head with eventual winner, Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) but within seconds, it was clear the 29-year-old would not be fighting it out for the podium, somewhat boxed in over the final metres of the finishing straight.
"I had to follow Mark. I'm disappointed. But that's all there is for us at the moment."
- Article published:
- April 4, 2013, 00:15
- Jane Aubrey
Sky craving result after failing to deliver at Flanders
Mathew Hayman has a knack for telling it like it is when it comes to racing. When Geraint Thomas fell out of the overall lead on the penultimate stage at the Tour Down Under earlier in the season, the hard-working Australian domestique reminded his Sky teammates that "no one died". With Sky's Flanders line-up performing well below par last Sunday, Hayman says it's time to follow through on some of their pre-race talk this weekend at Paris-Roubaix.
Sky had been expected to have a say in the result of the Tour of Flanders with a line up of riders which had been performing strongly across the board in the weeks leading up to the monument, instead they failed to figure, with Edvald Boasson Hagen their best finisher in 17th place.
"Roubaix suits us a bit better in some ways," Hayman admitted to Cyclingnews. "Hopefully we can be back where we deserve to be and have just a good shot at it. Be in the game."
Paris-Roubaix certainly suits Hayman. In 2012, he earned his best-ever result, 8th, bettering his 10th in 2011 and 21st in his 2009 debut. The result could have been better for Hayman had a decision been made to ride for a podium when eventual winner, Tom Boonen, left the front group containing the Australian, Stannard, Boasson Hagen and Juan Antonio Flecha. It was late last year that Hayman told Cyclingnews that Roubaix represented a "missed opportunity" during his 2012 season and given the events of the past week, there's a good chance that that if the circumstances present themself, it's not something he will let slip again.
Whether Thomas will lead the Sky team this weekend, as he had for Flanders and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, was not something Hayman was willing to predict, telling Cyclingnews that tactics were yet to be discussed.
"Edvald's obviously shown in Flanders that he's going well," Hayman said. "I'm not sure whether Geraint will be as favoured. Again our advantage and disadvantage is that we've got a lot of good guys."
Flanders, punishing at the best of times, was especially so for the 34-year-old. Unable to consume anything the evening before the race, suffering from the same bug which in the 24 hours earlier had also hit Bernhard Eisel, Hayman took to the start line already drained.
"After four hours it was game over," he told Cyclingnews before the Scheldeprijs got underway on Wednesday. "I was just empty. I think I was just sort of kidding myself there for a while, pretending that there was no problem," Hayman's face still clearly wearing the disappointment.
"It's hard to take. But not only that; the rest of the team... They missed me, they missed Bernie, Ian was a bit off and there were some long faces in the bus after the race. We'd been working pretty hard towards these goals and... We weren't even close. We were way off."
Paris-Roubaix offers Hayman, who had been in sensational form in the lead up to Flanders, another chance. Sky had been one of a few teams before last Sunday which had indicated that they would attack the race early to counteract the strength that the likes of Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan would undoubtedly unleash in the final laps of the Kwaremont. While it's often easier said than done, the team that did make good on their plan, was Lotto Belisol with Jurgen Roelandts the benefactor. It was a performance that stood out for Hayman.
"When you look at how Jurgen Roelandts rode I think it's a fine example that we can look at and say, this is a guy who got the most out of his Tour of Flanders," he said. In fact, Hayman sees Roelandts as somewhat of an equal to his teammate, Boasson Hagen and therefore proof that if Sky really take the race to task on Sunday, they can earn the result they crave.
"Not taking away from Jurgen's performance but Edvald was also on form and ended up 17th," he continued. "When you look at those two riders I wouldn't have put much between them so we need to just switch that over and race a bit more aggressively and hopefully we can pull off a result similar to his."