Team High Road continued its string of good results on Thursday, this time taking the top two spots in the Tour of the Basque Country's stage four. Luxembourger Kim Kirchen had the dubious task of contesting the sprint victory just as the bunch was catching a breakaway including his own team-mate, Morris Possoni, but the young Italian held on for second ahead of David Herrero (Karpin Galicia).
Thursday's win was Kirchen's second sprint win in three days after his victory on stage two, and the team's director, Valerio Piva was pleased with the end result. "It was clear that Morris' group was going to be caught with 250 metres left to go and Kim couldn't brake and risk another rider going past him," explained Piva. "We didn't want that to happen. Even if it's a shame for Morris, it's far better than Kim wins than we lose the stage completely."
"Kim is clearly in flying form," he added. "Taking one win in a bunch sprint is sometimes written off as a fluke, but if he takes two, particularly in a race as hard as the Tour of the Basque Country then nobody can say that."
The win comes on the same day that the women scored its second victory in a week, with German Ina Teutenberg out-sprinting her rival compatriot Regina Schleicher (Equipe Nürngerber) in the Drentse-8 Dwingeloo. Teutenberg's triumph comes after High Road's Judith Arndt took the women's Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday.
"We are very happy," said women's team director Ronny Lauke. "Winning is always something special but it was especially great to see Ina have such a good race after being sick last week."
The team has another World Cup round on Saturday at the Ronde van Drenthe, and is hoping to carry the momentum through to this race. "We have a very good feeling in the team right now," Lauke added. "The girls worked really hard and I hope we can have another great race on Saturday."