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Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano) on the final climb of stage 5
Frenchman building form ahead of Vuelta a España
Giant-Shimano's GC leader at the Tour of Poland Warren Barguil raced to fifth place on the fifth stage of the WorldTour event, which ventured into Slovakia, to move up to 12th overall. The 22-year-old was forced to work his way up through the peloton which had fractured on the slopes of the Štrbské Pleso and said after the stage he wasn't sure how he was going to go.
"I didn't know what level I would be at on the climb today because it has been a while since I raced and on our training camp I worked hard but not with large intensity," Barguil said on his team's website.
"So I am happy with today. I'm not disappointed but I made an error in closing the gap to the two leaders at the end – I thought that the win was possible but I lacked a bit of confidence. I found it today though."
The team's coach Addy Engels was happy with the efforts of all his riders and particularly their efforts to remain at the front of the race for as long as possible.
"The team were strong today, we still had four guys there with 1km to go which is good to see," said Engels. "We were focused on the final climb today and after studying the finish before, we saw that it wasn't too steep so I said to Nikias [Arndt] to go for it as well, without any pressure.
"He [Arndt] did a strong ride to stay in the front group until 800m to go. Then after that we had Tobias, Georg and Warren in front. Warren was really strong today and showed today that he has reacted well to the altitude training in the past few weeks with the team.
"Tomorrow will be really hard – it's a circuit with a lot of climbing and will be tough. We will ride to stay in front and Warren showed today that he is riding well and is capable of another stage result."
The team's sprinter Nikias Arndt explained after the stage that he gave it all in hope of delivering Barguil to victory.
"The plan was to try to hang on and see if I could go for the sprint. I was pleased to be able to hang on though with the pace and then at 1km to go I was too tired to sprint and was at the back of the group. It was a good try," Ardnt said,
"Warren did a really good job and he looked really good on the climb, and showed it at the end. My form is already good after training camp with the team and I hope I can keep improving for the races to come."
Vuelta a España return
Barguil's season has been built around the Vuelta a España where he made his grand tour debut last year in style, claiming two stage wins in the second half of the race and finishing 38th overall. He will lead the team at the Spanish grand tour which starts in Jerez on August 23 and exlained to Cyclism'Actu what his goals are for the race.
"My first goal will be the overall standings," he said. "A top 15 result would be really great! This Vuelta will be the opportunity to test myself over three weeks with only the general classification in mind."
While there was conjecture over Barguil's absence in the Giant-Shimano team for the Tour de France, he added that he had no issue with the decision that was made.
"My opinion? I'm just glad the team trust me to be the leader in the Vuelta," he said. "Finally, I think this was the right decision. I always took my time to decide something and I trust my family to help me."
Barguil also stated that whilst rumours circulated of his departure from the team, he will remain with Giant-Shimano for 2015 and beyond.
"No, I will not change my team this winter," he told Cyclism'Actu. "It's fun, for sure. But Giant-Shimano has proven to be the best training for the sprints. The team also unearths young talent like Tom Dumoulin, for example. Since the team did not stop, I do not want a change of scenery."