Giro d'Italia: Kluge uses track skills to take IAM Cycling's biggest ever win

'It was like a points race, with a long, long lap'

Just 48 hours after the IAM Cycling owner Michel Thetaz confirmed the end of the team, Roger Kluge landed the squad's first ever Grand Tour stage victory at the Giro d'Italia but admitted it has come too late to safe the Swiss squad.

"I don’t think it will change Michel's opinion. He took his decision on Monday. But perhaps it's something to give back to him for all that he has given in the last three or four years," Kluge said with respect and gratitude despite knowing he will have to find a new team for the 2017 season.

"Even though we got the disappointing news about the team we were still going for the victory, like today. I hope it's not the last one. We've also got the last stage on Sunday in Turin."

Kluge has always combined his road racing career with track racing and finished second in the Omnium event behind Fernando Gaviria of Colombia at this year's world championships. He is convinced that his track skills gave him the speed and especially the lucidity to win the stage.

"It was a confused finale," he explained. "It was like a points race, with a long, long lap. I started my move early and then tried to hold on.

"Pozzato attacked with about 1.5km to go. I was looking for Heino (Heinrich Haussler) to help him in the finale, then with one kilometre to go, I moved forward on the right and said to myself: 'It's up to me, take your heart and go fast'. I passed the bunch and dived through the corner, opening a gap because I was going faster. I saw Pozzato up the road and I first tried to catch Pozzato. I got Pozzato with 200 metres to go and then I looked back. Things looked good and then when I looked back at 150 metres to go, I knew it was enough so that I could win and so celebrate my first WouldTour win.

"I think track racing helps in finales like this one. I knew I can win on a finale like this. I won an under 23 race in the same style. Now I have more power to hold it too. If I get a jump on the bunch its difficult to get me back. For sure my track skills help me."

Kluge has qualified for the track at the Rio Olympics and wants to make up for falling short in London.

"I was fourth, so the main goal is to go for a medal, I want to go for the medal I missed in London," he said. "If I won a medal I'd be happy, if I won gold it'd be like today. I'd be the happiest man on earth."

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