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Jesse Sergent (RadioShack)
New Zealander enjoying outstanding neo-pro year
Levi Leipheimer’s success at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge was Team RadioShack’s second victory of the day on Thursday, after Kiwi Jesse Sergent won the stage four time trial and took the lead at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes race in France.
Sergent, a 23 year-old neo-pro with RadioShack posted a time of 25:10 on the 20.5 kilometre course around Chatelleraut, to take his fourth victory of the season, and with it the race lead. He now holds a 18 second lead over teammate Michal Kwiatkowski, ahead of the race's final stage to Poitiers.
"It was a pretty hard TT," said Sergent after the stage. "It was harder than I thought after seeing it on [reconnaissance]. It was up and down constantly. The climbs always took you out of your rhythm but I received such good direction from [Dirk] Demol and I had really good legs today."
RadioShack have high hopes for Sergent, with the New Zealander already posting a number of impressive results in 2011. At the recent Eneco Tour, Sergent beat David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo), Bert Grabsh (HTC-Highroad) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) to win the time trial stage.
Team Director Dirk Demol affirmed his confidence in the 23-year-old, commenting that he was never in any doubt that Sergent had the goods to win.
"It was no surprise to me," said Demol. "Jesse can do all TT courses. Today was not technical but demanding all the time with the up and down. Now tomorrow we will be defending this jersey for Jesse."
"It’s a tough finish tomorrow with a climb we have to do three times, but we have a strong team here. Our TT result shows that. I think we are ready to take what comes."