posted: 05/08/13 at 09:02 am


By: Ufficio Marketing
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PIC388359692The first World Tour win for Team Colombia has finally come, and in great fashion! Darwin Atapuma scored an outstanding win in the 6th stage of the Tour de Pologne, on the uphill finish in Bukowina Tatrzanska, after tagging new leader Christophe Riblon (Ag2r) with 200 metres to go. It’s the second UCI career win for Atapuma, the first in a World Tour race.

It was the perfect conclusion for the 192 km effort starting in Bukowina with several lumps and climbs that exalted El Puma’s skills, who looked brilliant and sparkling despite a significant effort during yesterday’s frustrating stage 5. “I am happy, tired but really happy: honestly, it feels great to be a World-Tour stage winner!” – said the 25-year old rider from Tuquerres. “When we were at 50 metres to the line, I turned behind and saw no one was coming, and that was the moment I realized I was going to make it. I know this win has a huge importance, not only for me but for the whole team and our project, and makes me even more proud after what happened yesterday: I think we showed we could have won even that stage…

Darwin did not forget some key contributions to his success at the Tour de Pologne: “I want to dedicate this win to all of my teammates, ‘cause they gave everything they had for me since day 1, and always showed confidence and full commitment – I am so glad I was able to reward them! This is also for our whole team staff, starting with Claudio Corti, our sports director and everyone involved here. And I truly hope to have made a big number of fans happy, in Colombia and all over the World!

Atapuma was a key protagonist of the stage all the way from the beginning. The race started with several break attempt, but the first to stick was the one including Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre), Tomasz Marczynski (Vacansoleil), Sandy Casar (FDJ), Leopold Konig (Netapp) and Darwin Atapuma, who were later joined by 10 more riders. Later on, more riders – including Team Colombia’s Robinson Chalapud and Leonardo Duque – managed to bridge back on the leaders to form a 32-man group.

Polish duo Sylvester Szmyd (Movistar) and Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp) tried to break away from the leaders, but Team Colombia’s riders always kept the move under control, and managed to bring them back.

The leading group lost several pieces on the selective route in the final 2 laps, with Atapuma setting a strong pace in the uphill sections, and eventually accelerating along with Russian youngster Sergey Chernetzky on the penultimate climb of the day. On the final slope, Atapuma finally managed to get clear of the Russian with 2 km to go, but right after that Frenchman Christophe Riblon bridged from behind and going for the overall lead. The two riders stayed together until “El Puma” final, winning kick with 200 metres to go.

It is a huge moment for us, coming just after such a painful day – General Manager Claudio Corti said – Atapuma tackled the Tour de Pologne in great condition, had a bad day on the Passo Pordoi and rode great ever since, and really deserves this joy. It’s our team’s first win in a World Tour race, another key step forward for our project.  It is a huge satisfaction for us, and I really believe we deserved it.

Corti followed the final sprint live at the phone with Sports Director Valerio Tebaldi: “We were still raging after Thursday’s facts, but Atapuma reacted in an outstanding way. He had to deal with Riblon, one of the best riders of the moment, who won on the Alpe d’Huez and the Passo Pordoi, but he did everything perfectly, timing his kick and delivering with his sprint. I could feel the emotion in Valerio’s voice during the sprint… and he finally burst into tears, overjoyed.

Tomorrow, the Tour de Pologne will come to a close with an individual time trial from Wieliczka to Krakow: it will not be a day for the Escarabajos, who will still look to end with pride an outstanding display at the Polish stage race.

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