Tour of Azerbaidjan: Linus Gerdemann back to victory with Team Qhubeka
I'm not following that race but WOW! I'm happy to see him back!
Team MTN-Qhubeka press release
Gerdemann from Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung was able to come back from a
late mechanical to win the 4th stage of the Tour d’ Azerbaidjan earlier
today. This is the 2nd win in as many days for the African Pro
Continental team in Azerbaidjan after Youcef Reguigui won yesterdays
stage 3. Gerdemann was able to out sprint Ilnur Zakarin (Rusvelo) at the
top of the 22km HC finishing climb in Pirqulu to take an emphatic
MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung showed real intent from early on in the stage
when Jacques Janse van Rensburg was part of the first break that went
away after just 5km of racing. Janse van Rensburg and his 5 break away
companions would soon be joined by 10 other riders, including Reguigui
and Gerdemann. The 16 riders formed a formidable lead group and quickly
opened up a gap. Reguigui would soon drop to the peloton under team
orders. As the climbing started this was the que for Janse van Rensburg
and Gerdemann to attack.
the 55km point, the 2 MTN-Qhubeka riders jumped clear of the lead group
taking 2 other riders with them. Gerdemann would attack again just
before the top of the first of the three climbs that awaited them during
the stage. The German rider had 20″ at the summit and decided to push
on alone while Janse van Rensburg would start covering moves from
lead the race solo over the penultimate climb and was only caught by
Zakarin and Lluis Mas (Caja-Rural) just after the start of the final
22km climb. Mas would not be able to follow the pace for all that long
up the climb and so it was down to just the 2 riders to contest the
stage as the chasers, including Janse van Rensburg, were still 2 minutes
back with the peloton a further 4 minutes behind.
5km to go we thought it was all over for Gerdemann as he had to stop
with a broken spoke. Thankfully a quick wheel change and some amazing
sportsmanship from Zakarin allowed Gerdemann to come back to the front
of the race. The 2 leaders dueled it out to the line with Gerdemann
marking his return to professional cycling by winning the 2 man sprint.
Janse van Rensburg was able to hold on for 6th.
Directeur Sportif – Manel Lacambra
plan for today was to win the stage with Linus and try to move up in
the GC with Sergio. We wanted to attack at the first climb but a
dangerous break went a few km’s before the climb. We had Youcef, Jacques
and Linus in the move though. At this point the situation was good
because we had 3 riders in front and Sergio behind with the top GC
riders. We decided to drop Youcef to the bunch behind to protect Sergio
together with Johann. Then when the first climb started Linus attacked
and got away solo. It was a long way to go to the finish and also there
was a head wind. 2 riders joined him but when they started the last
climb Linus attacked them again and just the Rusvelo rider followed him.
In the group of chasers Jacques was covering all the others attacks
making sure that no one else was able to escape. Back in the bunch
Sergio was attacking the top GC riders trying to move up on the GC but
everyone was marking him all the time. We didn’t move up on the GC
because of the circumstances of the race but we are very happy with 2
stage wins and with what we did today.
the end Linus won the Queen stage, he also took the king of the
mountains leader jersey and with a excellent performance we were also
the leading team on the teams classification for the stage.
Rider – Linus Gerdemann
was quite a hard day. I may have went on the attack a bit early in the
stage but in the end it worked out well. Zakarin was very strong today
and he showed good sportsmanship to wait for me after my mechanical. He
really deserves to take the race lead. I’m really happy with my victory
and also want to thank my team for all the support they gave me.