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European Championship

The red jersey wearers in the Vuelta represent IWG in the road race

Exactly one week after the closing time trial of the Tour of Spain, in which both wore the red leader’s jersey, Odd Christian Eiking and Rein Taaramäe will swap their kit from Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux with the one of their national team on the occasion of the European Championships (12/09). Representing Norway for the first time in a Continental championship in the elite category, Eiking is part of a selection of six riders. Taaramäe, Estonian time trial champion, will participate for the first time since the first edition in 2016 with four compatriots. Norway and Estonia are two of the 36 nations who want to break with the hegemony of the Italian team, winner of the three previous editions and racing on home soil. 

The European Championships were initially planned in 2020 in the north of Italy, around Trento, Monte Bondone and Valle dei Laghi. The men’s road race, for which Eiking and Taaramäe are selected, conclude a week during which thirteen titles are awarded. The start will be given at 12h30 on the Piazza Duomo de Trente, for 73,4 kilometer towards the local lap in the capital of Trentin. On their way to the local circuit, the riders have to climb the Monte Bondone. The second race half of the race for the stars, which is 179.2 kilometer, contains eight laps with the Povo climb.

I'm looking forward to do the recon of the parcours on Saturday, because apparently it suits me well. Different race scenarios are possible, but one thing is sure: we'll have to be attentive from the beginning of the race, because riders like Pogacar can make the peloton explode from the first race half. This might not be a problem for our strong Norwegian team, because we've got several cards to play. I'll have a free role, next to our leader Alexander Kristoff. I have to admit that I'm still feeling tired after the Vuelta, because I really dug deep the last couple of weeks. But I'm confident that this feeling will change quickly and that I'll be able to rely on the legs which offered me the 11th place in the general classification in the Vuelta!

After a fantastic Vuelta, I'm feeling happy and ambitious for the European Championships. I can prepare them in a relaxed way, because I'm in a really good shape but not among the main favorites for the title. Our Estonian team is conscious about its capacities, so we'll have to adapt our race to the favorite nations and use our intelligence. It is difficult to predict the race scenario, but I guess the strong teams will wait until the final 30 kilometer to make a selection. Most of them line up with fast riders, so a group sprint is the most probable outcome. I achieved my best result in an international championship on a comparable circuit, in Richmond. I took 14th place in a sprint with a reduced peloton. My preparation was perfect and I'm feeling better day by day after the Vuelta, so I can see no reason why I wouldn't be able to surprise!


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