Team Milram's Dominik Roels is satisfied with his showing in his debut Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España. He took third behind winner Lars Boom on stage 15 into Córdoba yesterday after he attacked on the final descent.
"It is my first three-week Tour and so far it has been great," he told Cyclingnews.
The race started nearly three weeks ago with four stages through The Netherlands and Belgium. It ends this Sunday in Madrid.
"I have been in two attacks in Holland already, close to my home in Germany, and I really also wanted to be in another attack like today. In Holland it was a bit easier [to get away] because not everyone wanted to be in it, but now I am really happy to have presented myself like this."
The profile of yesterday's stage made it clear that a break could succeed, and there was a serious battles before the right escape established itself. Only riders who were not a threat to the general classification contenders would be given leeway and while that right blend of riders was being sorted out, the speed was high.
"I really worked hard, as the whole team did, to get into the group," he said. "It took maybe 50 kilometres, and so we were really lucky to be in there. It was fine once the group was set, but it was certain that on the final climb it would be all out for the win."
His teammate Martin Velits attacked at the bottom of the second ascent of the San Jeronimo climb.
"I followed with Boom and Serafín Martínez. Boom went on and I followed for a bit but then I couldn't hang on."
The 2006 German under 23 champion said Dutchman Boom was riding too quickly. He was caught by a group containing Velits and was dropped by them before the top, but he fought back on.
"I really had to struggle to hang on. I went all out on the descent... on the lap before I had memorised what turns I could go all out on, so I managed to get third on the stage."
Milram will continue to hunt for a stage victory in the final six stages. The team already won stage two with sprinter Gerald Ciolek, and hopes that he can top the podium again.
"We will work for him in the sprints and on the other days we will always try to be in the break," said Roels. "The goal is to always try to be in the picture and make the race."
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