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Aleksej Saramotins (IAM), winner of today’s time trial
Latvian ready for Vuelta a España
Aleksejs Saramotins capped off a successful Vuelta a Burgos for IAM Cycling as he won the final day time trial to make it two wins for the team at the five day stage race. The 32-year-old will enjoy two days of rest at his home in Nice before lining up for the team at the Vuelta a España.
"It was my day today," Saramotins said of his victory over Nairo Quintana (Movistar) who did enough to claim the overall win. "I had good legs and the course was tailor-made for me. I really wanted to achieve something and Marcello [Albasini] was responsible for motivating me and encouraging me constantly."
Saramotins covered the 12.5km course in 14:48 at an average speed of 50.6km/h which was one second ahead of Quintana. As he started the day in 89th place overall, Saramotins spend almost the entire day in the hot seat and was almost unseated by Quintana.
"I have not raced for over six weeks, but even so, I managed to get my first win of the season," said a pleased Saramotins after the win was confirmed. "It took a lot of work, but the reward is great, especially considering that I beat riders like Quintana, Brajkovic, Plaza as well as Moreno. I had a good deal of confidence even though I had a fairly average early part of the season.
"All week, we have really tapped into all of our resources. It is a state of mind that we began to build during our 15 day altitude training camp in the Bernina range in the Swiss Alps. And it will certainly carry forward for a good Tour of Spain."
Saramotins has only ridden one grand tour in his career, the 2011 Vuelta, and has been named as one of the nine riders for IAM Cycling who will make its debut at the race.
The final day win was applauded by Marcello Albasini, the directeur sportif for the race, but added that Saramotins was blessed by his early start as a change in the weather made it more difficult for the riders later in the day.
"Admittedly, Aleksejs Saramotins was a little lucky today because the wind increased later in the day, so he was better able to make use of his high gears, with a 56 tooth chain ring up front," Albasini explained. "But that does not detract from his performance. He went out looking for this victory. And it is the nature of this team to give everything for each race."
Ahead of the team's second grand tour appearance of the year, Albasini admitted that he believes it will be hard to continue IAM Cycling's winning ways at the Vuelta but is looking forward to the challenge.
"This mindset has been promoted and refined since our altitude training in Bernina," Albasnini said. "With two stage wins and another second place in a stage, we have been 100% successful. It will be hard to top this at the Vuelta."