Sunday, March 15, 2015

Istrian Spring Trophy: Eibegger wins; no one cares

Does anyone care that a 30-year old Austrian won a small stage race in Croatia? Markus Eibegger did his job and got Synergy Baku their first two wins on the season after winning stage 2 of the Istrian Spring Trophy to Motovun and finishing strong on the final day to take the overall for the 2nd time in his career. Hooray! This race is a good spring training race and yes it gives points to the UCI Europe Tour but really, there is no money in it and unless it was involved in some other cup that would offer more riders more incentive, it is just a testing ground for many riders and allows riders like Marko Kump to pad their stats when it comes to contract times.

The stage itself was a fairly straightforward affair with a sprint finish being destined from the beginning. While the podium was essentially decided after stage 2, the lower placings were still being hammered out and Sam Oomen (Rabobank) and Lukas Pöstlberger (Tirol) took advantage of time bonuses on offer and took 4 and 3 seconds respectively.

The final sprint saw Marko Kump, winner of two races already this year, take his third victory on the year ahead of the Italian duo from Team Idea of Matteo Malucelli and ex-World Tour Davide Vigano while points jersey winner Martin Otonicar in 4th place ahead of GM Cycling's Filippo Fortin.

The GC podium stayed the same as it was with Eibegger taking the win ahead of Sergey Nikolaev and U23 Silvio Herklotz, who improved on his 4th place here from 2 years ago. After taking advantage of time bonuses, Oomen moved up to 4th place and leapfrogging Primoz Roglic (Adria Mobil), Jordi Simon (Ecuador) and Michael Gogl (Felbermayr). Disgraced doper Fran Reda finished 8th ahead of U23 Felix Großschartner (Felbermayr) while Pöstlberger moved up some spots to 10th.

 An interesting tidbit about the race is that Herklotz' Stölting team only finished with 2 riders with the other being Thomas Koep. They had 4 entering the final stage but Arne Enger was a DNS and Sven Reutter was a DNF. They didn't have enough riders to be in the team's classification.

Look for a Weekend Roundup in the coming days as well as previews for the Volta a Costa Vicentina, the Volta ao Alentejo and Tour de Normandie.

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