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Geox - TMC 2011 - Gianpaolo Cheula (Geox - TMC)
Geox-TMC rider completes two weeks of racing Stateside
Giampaolo Cheula (GEOX-TMC) won the Most Aggressive Rider jersey after initiating a decisive solo breakaway during the 'queen' stage five finale at the Tour of Utah on Sunday. His team's two-week stint in the US has come to an end and rider will return overseas for the final block of European racing.
"Our team came to the USA for our sponsor Fuji because that is an American brand and they wanted our team to have some presence in the US," Cheula told Cyclingnews. "We also wanted to ride well, train well and to have two weeks of good racing. Today was a very hard day and so to win the most aggressive rider jersey, on a day like today, was very good for our team. We are very satisfied with this result and it was nice to give our team some presence on the podium this week."
The UCI Professional Continental team arrived to the US prior to the UCI 2.2 Tour of Elk Grove held from August 5-7 outside of Chicago, Illinois. Cheula placed third on the stage two circuit race. The team traveled to the Tour of Utah where it was relatively quiet with the exception of Cheula's final attack on stage five.
"We had more success at the Tour of Elk Grove but the Tour of Utah was much tougher with respect to the climbing and so we are happy with our performances," Cheula said.
His late-stage five move came after a decisive ascent mid-stage on the Alpine Loop and resulted in a solo breakaway of nearly a minute heading into the final climb of the day on Little Cottonwood Canyon up to the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.
"Stage five was so hard today, the climbs were long and it was really hot, but that is more of what I am accustom to from racing in Europe," Cheula said. "Today, I got over the first climb a little bit off the back but I descended and caught the breakaway. I tried to attack in order to stay ahead of the race before the mountains. I wanted to give some representation to our team today at the front of the race."
Geox-TMC brought a young team to race in the US with three stagiaires. The roster also included Marcel Wyss, David Gutierrez, Alberto Torres, Tino Thomel and Maurizio Gorato. "We have a very young team they are between 20 and 23-years-old," Cheula said. "Today I tried to go for a stage win. Our team's goal this week was to look for opportunity, go in breakaways, try for a stage win because we did not an overall classification rider here."