Team Lampre-Merida

Kristijan Durasek celebrates at the Tour de Suisse

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Kristijan Durasek celebrates at the Tour de Suisse

TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA’s Croatian Kristijan Durasek got to celebrate a win at the first point-to-point stage of this year’s Tour de Suisse. His team mate Luka Pibernik spent almost the entire stage in the lead group, getting the climber’s jersey as a reward. And Rui Costa capped off the Dritérium du Dauphiné with a third place in the final stage and in the overall standings.

The fact that TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA fielded a mostly young team at the Tour de Suisse and that Rui Costa as the reigning champion had decided to compete at Critérium du Dauphiné instead had been criticized by some pundits beforehand. But the riders in blue, fuchsia and MERIDA green silenced all critics by showing a great performance throughout the first point-to-point stage. Things did not look as promising in Saturday afternoon’s prologue however as no rider of the team managed to put himself in the spotlight. But this short time trial is unlikely to be decisive for the outcome of the biggest Swiss stage race.

The first full stage of the Tour de Suisse was more demanding, as it first featured two climbs to the Ägerisee and then two tough climbs to the Michaelskreuz. Soon a four-man lead group formed and young Slovene Luka Pibernik was in there for TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA. He and Cameron Meyer insisted in their effort, and they only were reeled in with 15 kilometers to go on the second ascent up to Michaelskreuz. Three riders broke clear on the way to the summit before two small groups merged on the following descent. Thus nine riders contested for the stage win in Risch-Rotkreuz, and TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA’s Kristijan Durasek was one of them.

The 27 year-old Croatian knew that his chances for the win were slim in a sprint. That’s why he attacked hard with 500 meters to go, profiting from the dissent this caused with the other eight riders. Durasek went deep and crossed the finish line with an advantage of four seconds on his closest chasers. And mind you, this was the first time he was racing on his new work tool, and for MERIDA’s new SCULTURA this was the third win on Worldtour level. „As the Tour de Suisse is a Worldtour race, I consider this win as even bigger than my overall win at the Tour of Turkey“, a delighted Kristijan Durasek said after the race.

At the Critérium du Dauphiné Rui Costa at first did not manage to follow up on his strong performance that led to his stage win: In the finale of stage 7he lost contact to the strongest climbers and conceded about one and a half minutes to Chris Froome, finishing the stage in 9th. As a consequence Costa also dropped from 2nd to 4th in the overall standings. But TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA’s Portuguese star rider recovered well from this for the final stage: Handsomely aided by team mate Rafael Valls he managed to match the pace of the fastest opponents. While he could not answer Chris Froome’s attack, he managed to claw his way back to American Tejay van Garderen and sprinted to a third place on the stage.

Thanks to this performance Rui Costa moved up to third in the overall standings as well. With one stage win and a third place in the overall standings, this test for the Tour de France can be considered a full success for TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA’s stage race captain. In addition to that Rafael Valls missed out on a top10 finish in the overall standings by only four seconds, finishing the race in 11th overall.

 

79th Tour de Suisse

Stage 2: Risch-Rotkreuz - Risch-Rotkreuz, 161.1km
1. Kristijan Durasek, CRO/TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA, in 3:36.52 hours
2. Daniel Moreno, ESP, + 0.04
3. Julian Arredondo, COL, st

67th Critérium du Dauphiné
Stage 8: Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc - Modane Valfréjus, 156.5km
1. Chris Froome, GBR, in 3:59.27 hours
2. Simon Yates, GBR, + 0.18
3. Rui Costa, POR/TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA, st

Overall standings:
1. Chris Froome, GBR, in 30:59.02 hours
2. Tejay van Garderen, USA, + 0.10
3. Rui Costa, POR/TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA, + 1.16