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Gallery: Tinkoff-Saxo complete Kilimanjaro challenge

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Soigneurs Peter de Connick and Lynda Cossard take a picture with their guide

Soigneurs Peter de Connick and Lynda Cossard take a picture with their guide
(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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Alberto Contador with teammate Jesus Hernandez and mechanis Luis Comes

Alberto Contador with teammate Jesus Hernandez and mechanis Luis Comes
(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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Some much-needed food

Some much-needed food
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It's no michelin starred restaurant

It's no michelin starred restaurant
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The team were trekking for five days

The team were trekking for five days
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(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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Ivan Basso signs in at camp

Ivan Basso signs in at camp
(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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Ivan Basso reunited with Bjarne Riis

Ivan Basso reunited with Bjarne Riis
(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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Directeur sportif Steven de Jongh

Directeur sportif Steven de Jongh
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Bed for the night

Bed for the night
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Alberto Contador looks happy thus far

Alberto Contador looks happy thus far
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Sunrise from the mountain

Sunrise from the mountain
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It wasn't just the climb that was breath-taking

It wasn't just the climb that was breath-taking
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Queing up to take souvenir pictures

Queing up to take souvenir pictures
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The guides helped the team up the mountain

The guides helped the team up the mountain
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(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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Peter Sagan looks fairly relaxed on the trek

Peter Sagan looks fairly relaxed on the trek
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Alberto Contador and Bruno Pires

Alberto Contador and Bruno Pires
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(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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Alberto Contador and his teammates take in the necessary nourishment

Alberto Contador and his teammates take in the necessary nourishment
(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan took time to take a picture with local riders

Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan took time to take a picture with local riders
(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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Focussing on the task at hand

Focussing on the task at hand
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(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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Pitching your flag

Pitching your flag
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All smiles from the Tinkoff-Saxo riders

All smiles from the Tinkoff-Saxo riders
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(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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The imposing sight of the mountain was always there as a reminder of the task ahead

The imposing sight of the mountain was always there as a reminder of the task ahead
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(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)
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Thumbs up from Alberto Contador

Thumbs up from Alberto Contador
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Rafal Majka and Roman Kreuziger

Rafal Majka and Roman Kreuziger
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Alberto Contador was the first to reach the top

Alberto Contador was the first to reach the top
(Image credit: BreakThrough Media)

The Tinkoff-Saxo team are on their way home after successfully reaching the top of Mount Kilimanjaro on Tuesday morning. In the end, 51 of the 71 team members made it to the summit, with five calling it quits in the opening days and 15 forced to give up just metres from the finish line.

The 70 per cent success rate means that the team will double the donations made, which will go to support the Matonyok Parents Trust orphanage and the Arusha Cycling Club.

Among the 51 that made it to the 5,895-metre summit were directeur sportif Bjarne Riis, Alberto Contador and new signings Peter Sagan and Ivan Basso. “It was a new experience in which the whole team has been together, sharing good times and some really complicated,” Contador said of the trek.

“The weather did not help us. For the first three days it rained a lot and we did not have time to dry the clothes we wore, the tents and sleeping bags. More than the physical exertion or altitude, as until then we didn't pass 3,800 metres, the worst of the first days was the rain.”

The team was split into smaller groups at the bottom and made the ascent with guides, to ensure they didn’t go off-course. With Contador was another of the new signings Robert Kiserlovski, who joins the team from Trek Factory Racing, and Danish champion Michael Valgren. Kilimanjaro is the tallest in Africa and the ascent to the top is attempted by hundreds every year but many have to turn back because of altitude sickness, which can hit the most experienced of climbers.

Contador managed to escape the altitude sickness but saw some of his team members forced to turn back because of it. “I was lucky that the altitude did not affect me, there were teammates who went bad and had to turn back, others needed help to get to the summit and there were others that back at camp did not remember anything that had happened," he explained.

It was Contador who made it to the top first on Tuesday morning. After safely making it to the bottom with the rest of his teammates, his thoughts now turn to 2015 and his next big challenge. “[It] has been a pretty good experience that marks the start of the 2015 season, probably the most challenging of my career with the dual objective Giro d'Italia and Tour de France. Now I have to recover from this trip and focus on my own task, which is the bike.”