It was a day for Team KATUSHA to take charge and reap the benefits of hard work on Sunday in the fourth and final stage of the 2016 Tour of Slovenia. Team rider Aleksandr Porsev earned stage honors in Novo Mesto and Rein Taaramäe heads home with the overall win on the general classification, making for four days of successful racing in Slovenia.
This is so nice and important too. I was already good in last month’s Giro d’Italia, finishing six times in the top ten, but to win is important. It makes the difference for a fast rider. It was not our plan at all to play my cards in the final. My goal was to work for Alexey Tsatevich, but Alexey crashed at 6 km from the finish so we had to go to plan B and that ended up working out very well. We had three local laps in Novo Mesto, so I knew the last kilometer. I knew I had to take that last corner as the first rider. I did it with some risk. The last kilometer was very tricky with the rain, the corners and with the wet cobblestones. At 300 meter from the finish, at the last corner, I went full gas and nobody could pass me again. What a nice day for us – the stage win and Overall victory for Rein, – said 30 year old Aleksandr Porsev.
Aleksandr Porsev will now head to his Russian national championships and later to the Tour de Wallonie. Porsev was joined on the stage podium by Rüdiger Selig (Bora-Argon 18) and Kristian Sbaragli of Dimension Data, all on the same time of 4:27.46 (40.132 km/h) for the 179,1km stage from Rogaška Slatina to Novo Mesto.
Overall leader Rein Taaramäe wears the yellow jersey home, one month after winning an exciting mountain stage in the Giro d’Italia. More and more he appears to be a rider for the short stage races. In 2015 he won the Overall in the Tour of Murcia, the Tour of Burgos and the Arctic Race of Norway.
– But this is the first time I was riding in the yellow jersey. In Murcia, Burgos and Norway, but also earlier in Tour de l’Ain, I won the Overall by taking the yellow jersey on the last day. What we did here is definitely nicer. I have to say that it was not difficult today. The stage was flat but our team was so amazingly good. When they started chasing they immediately took back two minutes in less than 10 km. It was a pleasure to have these teammates. Now I will take some rest and will go for three weeks to an altitude training camp for my second part of the season with the Tour of Poland, the Olympic Games in Rio and the Tour of Spain as my next goals. I am still ambitious for Grand Tours too. I am not too old for that, – said 29-year old Estonian Rein Taaramäe.
Rein won by a wide margin of 1:42 to Jack Haig (Orica-GreenEdge) and 2:38 to Jan Bárta of Bora-Argon 18.
– Our guys were amazing. I can only congratulate them. They did exactly what we planned to do today and in the end they were flexible enough to change the plan with a good outcome. I am a happy team director. It is also nice that Rein Taaramäe brings home our first 2016 Overall victory in a stage race. Rein will bring us more luck this year, – said team director Claudio Cozzi.