Team Colombia's Jarlinson Pantano was close to taking out the stage today, eventuall finishing in fourth-place
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Looking for a strong performance at first European stage race of the season
Having started their season at the Argentinian stage race, Tour de San Luis, and made their 2014 European debut at the GP Costa degli Etruschi, Team Colombia's Escarabajos are ready to take part in their first French stage race of the season at the Étoile de Bessèges (February 5th-9th) which starts in Bellegarde and finishes with an individual time trial in Ales.
For the first three days are sprinter friendly but the fourth stage is one for the punchers and climbers with the short and steep Laudin climbs of 10% average gradient that peak up to 20%. This stage and the 11 km ITT are set to decide the on the overall classification of the race.
Team Colombia are sending a young and motivated group of riders including several new signings: Rodolfo Torres, who debuted at the GP Costa degli Etruschi, 'el niño' Edward Diaz, Jonathan Paredes and Luis Largo who will make their first appearance with the Escarabajos.
The line-up led by Sports Directors Valerio Tebaldi and Oliverio Rincòn will also include Jeffry Romero, Carlos Julian Quintero, Jarlinson Pantano and Robinson Chalapud, all experienced riders who are looking for a strong performance in the French race.
"We have picked a good mix of more tested athletes and new faces", Tebaldi said. "We will look to show up in the breaks in the first stages, and focus on the uphill finish to the Laudin climb. It's a very demanding slope, but I feel we got some options to go for a good result."
Étoile de Bessèges team: Robinson Chalapud, Edward Diaz, Luis Largo, Jarlinson Pantano, Jonathan Paredes, Carlos Quintero, Jeffry Romero, Rodolfo Torres
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