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Rein Taaramäe: “I had never experienced such a Grand Tour”

By winning the stage 3 of the Vuelta at Picón Blanco, Rein Taaramäe offered a prestigious victory to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. But on top of that, the Estonian's success allowed the Belgian team to hold the leader’s jersey on a Grand Tour for the first time in its history. The 34-year-old rider, who joined this year, completed the tenth Grand Tour of his career in Santiago de Compostela, after three unforgettable weeks on Spanish soil.

« It was a memorable Vuelta, not only for the team, but also for me. In my career, I had the chance to ride in big teams, like Astana and Katusha. But I have never experienced something similar to these three weeks with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. I defended the leader’s red jersey for two stages and then defended our team leader. It was new for me. What we have accomplished together is the result of a massive hard work. The team hired Aike Visbeek as Performance Manager, who established high quality working methods. Our sports director Valerio Piva has worked with the best teams, he has invaluable experience. Together with the riders, we push each other to perform at a higher level. Because we don't have superstars, but we make up for it with hard work and team spirit, and that makes us stronger. »

« Personally, I needed this stage victory because I know what my qualities are. Even today, at 34, I constantly feel the need to prove that I can win in big races. Achieving such success on a regular basis keeps me competitive at the highest level. In recent years, I was always at the front but in races where it's hard to see me on the picture, so you tend to not realize what I'm capable of. Thanks to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, I can participate in the most prestigious events on the calendar and show myself. Opportunities like the Giro or the Vuelta this year have enabled me to do that and prove to the world what I can do. »


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