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Vuelta a Espana

Taaramäe triumphant on the top & leader in the general classification 

This Monday, Rein Taaramäe offered Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux a fantastic stage win at the Tour of Spain (2.WT, 14/08-5/09), a fourth victory of the season for the Belgian team. The third stage at the Tour of Italy is still fresh in the mind of numerous cycling fans. Taco van der Hoorn surprised by surviving from a breakaway of eight riders, resisting to the peloton and offering the team a first Grand Tour stage victory in its first Giro. Three months later, history was repeated on the Iberian Peninsula. Rein Taaramäe chose to join an early breakaway of eight riders after the start of the third stage in Santo Domingo de Silos. In the 202 kilometer stage, the peloton followed only 9 minutes later on the roads which bring the Estonian rider special memories since his victory at the Tour of Burgos in 2015. The final of the stage was very exciting with the gap between the leaders and the peloton melting away like snow under the sun during the 30 last kilometers. But Taaramäe stayed cool under the circumstances, didn’t react to attacks and waited for the final climb. The top of the Picon Blanco was waiting in the fog after a climb of 7.6 kilometer with an average gradient of 9.1 per cent. The Estonian rider accelerated progressively until he dropped his last companions Kenny Elissonde and Joe Dombrowski on the steep slopes and remained the only leader in the race. The 34 year old former Giro and Vuelta stage winner fought for each second and triumphed on the top. It was a triple succes for Taaramäe as he not only took the stage win but also acquired the lead in the general classification and the QOM classification. This Tuesday, Taaramäe will show his new red kit for 163.9 kilometer on the roads between El Burgo de Osma and Molina de Aragon.

This victory is not completely unexpected, as I was feeling really good and as I discussed for a long time about this opportunity with our smart sports director Valerio Piva yesterday evening. I won stages in the Giro and the Vuelta before, but I was dreaming about knowing how it feels to be a leader in a Grand Tour. I was pretty close this spring in the Tour of Italy when Joe Dombrowski won the stage. Also when I took the Giro stage victory in 2016, the American rider was present in the breakaway. I'm 34 so not many opportunities will come across anymore. That's why I started the stage with a clear mission this morning. The stage win was possible today because I really believed in myself. Our breakaway was composed of eight strong riders and I considered Elissonde and Dombrowski as the most dangerous contenders. It is not the first time I was in this situation and this experience made me stronger. The biggest question was whether the peloton was hungry for the stage win or not. This is fantastic, I'm going to enjoy this a lot the next days! 


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